Hone Your Wildlife Photography Skills, Experts Agree – Forbes | Ad On Picture

Whether you’re an avid multi-day backpacker, day hiker, or auto camper exploring our country’s ubiquitous states and national parks, or someone who loves being outside in your own backyard with your family in tow, you probably will want to capture flora and fauna. When it comes to nature photography, there’s a lot to learn, from choosing the right lens to paying attention to foreground and background to focusing on the close-up textures of the landscape.

Discover how to capture your subject in the best light, use different angles and perspectives for a distinctive shot, and tell stories through dynamic images with the help of these intrepid outdoor photographers tips below. Climb peaks, throw rocks, come alive and capture it all.

An Australian photographer currently based in the Pacific Northwest, Melissa Findley is known for her crisp and thoughtful travel and adventure photography. On a recent hike, Findley brought back a Sony a7R IV with a stash of lenses including a Sony 50mm f/1.2, 24-70mm f/2.8, 16-35mm f/2.8 and 100-400mm f/4.5 5.6.

What tips do you have for respecting the wild world and the animals that live in it to capture the best wildlife shots?

It’s important to develop local knowledge of the wildlife you’re trying to capture, as well as choosing the time of day – early morning or late afternoon when wildlife is most active. Patience is key and always keep a safe distance to avoid harming or disturbing wildlife. Never feed or touch a wild animal.

Many photographers talk about shooting during the “golden hours,” the time just before sunrise or just after sunset. How important are time of day and natural light for nature photography?

light is everything; The time of day is essential for emotional storytelling. Many professional travel photographers focus their work in golden light (before sunset or after sunrise when the sun is at a low angle casting golden light on your scene/subject) or blue hour (before dawn and around dusk when the sun is below the horizon is level, but night has not yet fallen).

Not only are these times of day less touristy, but the emotions associated with the contrast or depth of the scene add to your storytelling. Golden hour and golden light can create a positive and inspirational, dreamy or nostalgic scene, while the deep tones of the blue hour can be used to induce serenity, peace and even melancholy.

While smartphones have come a long way, serious wildlife photographers may want to upgrade their gear to capture more accurate shots. What are the three essential pieces of equipment every beginner wildlife photographer should have?

Along with a camera and lens of your choice, choose a carbon fiber tripod, headlamp (you’ll likely be out before sunrise and after sunset), and rocket blower or lens cloth.

A Montana native, Hope Kauffman creates visually stunning outdoor photographs that use people as the subject of their creativity. Whether on a tree-lined path or near a lake, Kauffman has a unique ability to capture joy. She uses the versatile Canon R6 with a 24-70 2.8 as her lens of choice and likes to keep a 70-200 2.8 on hand for wildlife, especially when touring her local outdoor area, Glacier National Park. For portraits with extra sharp edges, she uses an 85 prime lens.

What should new photographers be aware of who are interested in capturing people in a landscape shot?

I love this question because so many people show me an inspiration shot or ask me to shoot in a certain place at a certain time when the light might not be exactly what it should be for the shot. I know Glacier National Park and my surrounding beautiful areas of Montana down to the hour every season.

I always ask my clients to trust me to take them to the perfect place, knowing the light is best, to provide what we need to achieve their vision. I encourage everyone to trust their photographer and that photographers are overly communicative and understanding. It is so important to gently guide them in order for the relationship to thrive and for everyone to feel heard.

What types of photos do you enjoy taking the most and why?

If I could only shoot what I love every day, I would focus on travel photography. Storytelling through images has always attracted me. Portraits in particular are my favorite type of travel photography.

I love hearing people’s stories and connecting with them on an intimate level. The act of creating a portrait is very sacred to me and how I, as a human, connect most strongly with another human being. I love making people look and feel as beautiful as they are to me. Not only do I deliver an image, but I also plant seeds of trust that I hope they can carry with them.

What should new photographers think about when composing? Rule of thirds, playing with depth of field, or any other tricks of the trade?

I firmly believe in finding your own style. Experimenting and playing with light has shaped my work the most. I love shooting through something – a wildflower, over a shoulder, through trees. Adding a bit of interest to the foreground, even blurred for a touch of color, was a staple of my work.

I find that when I try to overthink or be too perfect with settings, the magic of the moment falls away. I photograph almost every day and my style is always changing. I think there is so much beauty in the flexibility of creating, it keeps me engaged and in love with my career!

The inimitable Erin Hutchison is not only a passionate outdoor photographer, but also an enthusiastic outdoor woman. You’ll immediately notice how her colorful and bright images tell a story. She mainly shoots with a Sony A7iii with a 24-70 lens.

Sometimes you think you’ve got the perfect shot, but a little correction is needed in post-production. What suggestions do you have for punching a photo in the cutting room?

The beauty of photography is that it has to adapt to so many different shooting conditions. Some of my favorite photos I barely touch when posting, while others I’m not initially thrilled with really surprise me after a simple edit. In general I like to play with highlights, clarity and warmth to really give my images an extra punch.

Many novice photographers, unwilling to invest heavily in camera gear, try their hand at nature photography with their current possessions. Do you have any tips for people who only have their smartphones?

My love of photography started with shooting and editing on an iPhone. It’s a great tool to get creative by trying different angles, playing with the portrait mode and really getting an understanding of the composition and your personal photography style.

Before investing in a Sony, I was adventuring with Moment lenses, small twist-on lenses for an iPhone. They gave normal cell phone photos an added edge, were incredibly easy to use, and were more budget-friendly for beginners.

Every season offers fun and challenge when it comes to outdoor camera work. What tips do you have for shooting during the different spells?

I love to be outdoors as much as possible throughout the year, which means I always have my camera with me. Hiking, fishing or wildlife photography, for me it’s all about images that tell a story. My number one tip for wildlife photographers is patience and always have your camera handy. I’ve been sitting in zero degrees and snow waiting for a chance to catch a herd of moose on the move. And I’ve put dozens of miles on mine Danner Boots in search of wildflowers against a mountain backdrop.

Every trip is an adventure and an opportunity to learn something new. It doesn’t always work out the way you hope, but when it does, it’s magical. Light is also a big factor for me, which usually means very early in the morning or late at night, as I prefer the softer light of dawn or pre-sunset. Enjoy the nuances of the different seasons. All four have something unique to offer.

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