A beginners' guide to wildlife photography

A beginners' guide to wildlife photography

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In November, Don Gutoski's stunning, if slightly harrowing, image of a Red Fox feeding on its Arctic counterpart scooped the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year prize. 

As ever, the event showcased a wide array of spectacular photos from across the world, but how can you go about capturing your own local wildlife on camera? We've put together a beginner's' guide to help you get started.

The equipment

First things first, you'll need some equipment. Obviously, the higher the quality of your equipment the easier things will be, but you don't need to splash out the very latest gear in order to take a good photo. The most important thing is to learn as much as you can about the capabilities of your camera, read the instructions thoroughly and you might discover it has more advanced features than you'd realised.

The subject

Once you have a decent grasp of how to use your camera, it's time to think about your subject. Insects are often an ideal place to start, as they are often slow and easy to find, meaning you can hone your skills without having to worry about scaring them off. When it comes to photographing birds, focusing on those that visit your garden feeder is a good idea as they will stay relatively stationary and repeat visits mean you'll get more than once chance to secure the perfect shot. 

Blue Tit on bird feeder

The key considerations

So, what should you think about when actually taking a picture? There are a few important things to consider:

Composition: This refers to the position of key elements of the photo within the frame. Your phone should have a setting that superimposes a grid on your screen to help picture this.

Lighting: Lighting can make or break a photo, so pay careful attention to the sun and weather conditions if you want to get the perfect shot.

Stability: The best photos are taken when a camera is completely still. Investing in a tripod means you won't have to worry about shaky hands ruining your efforts.

Patience is a virtue

What else do you need to get started with wildlife photography? Perhaps the most important thing of all is patience. You'll need to be patient with both yourself and the animals you're trying to capture. Remember that wildlife is always unpredictable and you need to be in it for the long-haul if you're going to capture the ideal shot.

Practice makes perfect and you'll take plenty of duff efforts before you pull out that masterpiece. However, when you do, it will all be worthwhile.

High quality bird food is the ideal way to attract birds to your garden and grab yourself a good photo or two!

(All images from iStock)