6 Suggestions for Conveying Character and Persona in Wildlife Pictures

Tips for wildlife photos with character

Are your wildlife pictures feeling somewhat bit uninspired? Animal topics are sometimes fascinating to look at and {photograph}, however if you wish to create compelling wildlife photographs, it’s essential to transcend technical mastery and produce photographs that convey each the character and character of the topic.

You is perhaps a bit skeptical right here, however most animals do have personalities. I’m uncertain this is applicable to sure creatures (e.g., ants), however mammals specifically have traits and habits. Some could also be daring and examine new issues, whereas others could retreat and shrink back from disturbances. I encourage you to view this because the animal’s character and use your wildlife images abilities to seize it on digital camera!

It’s positively not simple to get this proper, although. A nonetheless picture freezes a single second in time, which suggests you have to work laborious if you wish to translate an animal’s character right into a single shot. On this article, I share six suggestions that can assist you out – and I additionally provide loads of examples so you possibly can see what I imply.

Prepared to begin creating animal pictures with character? Let’s dive proper in, beginning with my first tip:

1. Present distinctive behaviors

Tips for wildlife photos with character

As a zoologist, I’m fascinated by animal conduct. A few of these behaviors appear predictable – foraging and looking, as an illustration – whereas others can shock and shock us. (Do you know that fish swallow small stones to help digestion?)

It’s typically by capturing these fascinating behaviors that you may convey the essence of a specific species. Should you can {photograph} a chicken, a bear, or a monkey behaving as they do in nature, the ensuing photographs may give the viewer an actual sense of that animal’s character.

However how do you seize these behaviors on digital camera? While you’re staring by means of the viewfinder, it’s simple to get tunnel imaginative and prescient and focus purely on making a technically good shot of your wildlife topic. Should you take a step again and examine the animal, nonetheless, you might begin to discover conduct patterns that you may {photograph}.

It additionally pays to learn up about your goal species forward of time. If you’ll be photographing a sure kind of fox, for instance, see if you will discover analysis on-line that discusses any uncommon behaviors. You may also search for movies that present the fox in its pure habitat; these can assist you get a way of its conduct earlier than ever encountering it.

Then, whenever you’re within the area, attempt to stay as alert and observant as potential. Many animals have giveaway strikes that warn you of an impending show – resembling nice skuas, a seabird discovered within the Northern Hemisphere, which I photographed whereas stretching:

Tips for wildlife photos with character

On this explicit case, the skua was preening its feathers repeatedly. Birds typically do that earlier than flapping their wings or displaying, so I waited patiently for quarter-hour whereas the chicken preened, realizing that I’d most likely be rewarded with a show afterward (and as you possibly can see, I used to be!).

Confrontations between two animals are additionally commonplace and definitely price photographing. Should you see animals approaching each other (even when they’re two totally different species), chances are high that you simply’ll see some form of interplay.

Take the white-tailed eagles within the subsequent picture, for instance. I used to be fairly positive they’d each have a disagreement over the tasty fish mendacity on the ice. I made positive to nail the main focus upfront, then I stored the shutter half-pressed and fired as quickly as they lifted their wings.

Tips for wildlife photos with character

2. Seize humorous moments

Whereas animals don’t attempt to be humorous, they typically do issues that make us chuckle – and for those who can seize the second, the ensuing photographs are sometimes stuffed with character.

Tips for wildlife photos with character

Sadly, these pictures typically can’t be predicted upfront. As an alternative, you have to know your digital camera nicely and stay poised and prepared always.

Once I lead workshops, one of many essential issues I attempt to get my shoppers to appreciate is that as quickly as you drop your digital camera down, you’re risking lacking the shot. If your topic is in entrance of you, you then’ve already performed the laborious half (ready for an look), so be sure to hold your eye on the viewfinder and stay on the prepared, nearly like a sniper coaching a watch on a goal.

This subsequent picture, which includes a scratching crimson squirrel, was solely obtainable for a second. The squirrel lifted its leg, and I used to be in a position to hearth my digital camera as a result of I used to be already following its progress alongside the department by means of the viewfinder.

Tips for wildlife photos with character

Earlier than capturing this subsequent shot, I had been hoping to seize a stag peering by means of the timber. Then, when he caught his tongue out, I couldn’t assist however click on away! I didn’t plan for it to occur, however it’s these little moments that convey a smile to the viewer and convey character and character to your wildlife pictures.

Tips for wildlife photos with character

3. Fill the body

Not all nice wildlife images options frame-filling compositions, however it’s a really efficient technique to convey the main focus solely to the animal whereas additionally magnifying little particulars that add further character to the shot. Should you look again on the pictures displayed above, you’ll see that all of them use the frame-filling method, and it’s actually an method I encourage you to strive.

After all, as any wildlife photographer will know, filling the body isn’t really easy. You want an extended lens, and also you additionally have to develop some stalking abilities so you will get shut with out scaring the animals off. Should you’re in a position to be affected person and transfer towards your topics slowly, it may well make an enormous distinction!

It may also be useful to create loads of background bokeh (i.e., blur), which is able to isolate the topic and forestall the background from distracting the viewer. A protracted lens will improve the standard and depth of the blur, however you’ll additionally want to make use of a wider aperture to essentially improve the impact.

Tips for wildlife photos with character

In the end, when the eye of the viewer is targeted on the animal alone and there are zero distracting background parts tearing the attention away, there will probably be a deeper connection between the viewer and the animal. It maybe sounds somewhat clichéd, however it actually is true! Within the above picture of a squirrel, you possibly can see that the attention contact – together with a catchlight within the eyes – actually makes the shot pop, but it’s the tighter composition and background blur that retains your consideration centered on the squirrel.

Professional tip: When doing tight compositions like this, watch out to not chop limbs off midway. Both embody all the limb or crop it away solely!

4. Present household ties

If there’s something people can relate to, it’s the bond that animal dad and mom have with their offspring. Not all animals care for his or her younger, however those who do will be seen caring and dealing endlessly to lift their kids.

For instance, take a look at how these two gannets reaffirm their bond every time the opposite returns to the nest after gathering fish:

Tips for wildlife photos with character

Should you can seize familial interactions like these, your pictures will look fascinating, distinctive, and heartwarming suddenly. And for those who can {photograph} dad and mom feeding their younger, even higher:

Tips for wildlife photos with character

It doesn’t must be a feeding conduct, although! Playful pictures that depict a wildlife household will even give your pictures the aww issue. Clearly, it’s important to be in the appropriate place on the proper time, and these sorts of pictures do require lots of dedication and time to realize, however they’re typically well worth the effort!

5. Attempt one thing totally different

As a photographer, what number of instances have you ever been advised that you may enhance your pictures by means of experimentation? Sure, it’s oft-repeated recommendation, however it actually, actually works, and I encourage you to get experimental and inventive when approaching your wildlife images.

You would possibly strive capturing wildlife with an all-black background, otherwise you would possibly use a distant management to seize close-ups utilizing a wide-angle lens. You could possibly use a gradual shutter pace and a panning method to convey movement, or you might shoot from an unusually low or excessive angle for a brand new perspective.

I actually am a fan of the high-key fashion of wildlife images, the place you isolate the topic in opposition to the background by blowing out the highlights in a picture:

Tips for wildlife photos with character

The mountain hare displayed above was grooming its fur, however when it bowed its head, it appeared slightly solemn. The white background makes the shot look painterly, and I personally suppose it’s a slightly intimate portrait.

Be ready to step outdoors your consolation zone. That’s the way you’ll get the pictures that set you other than the infinite bird-on-a-stick pictures we see day after day. Issues could go mistaken at first, however that’s okay! Actually problem your self to {photograph} creatively, and see what you possibly can give you.

6. Use mild unconventionally

Mild makes or breaks just about any type of images, and wildlife images is not any exception. Most wildlife shooters like to make use of golden-hour entrance mild (a typical tip is to “level your shadow on the topic”), however whereas this may be efficient, you possibly can produce particularly fascinating pictures by going in opposition to the grain.

Backlighting is especially efficient for conveying thriller and magic in a picture. I used this to my benefit when photographing Peruvian spider monkeys, a primate that’s sadly on the endangered checklist. The monkeys would have appeared high-quality when entrance lit, however the backlight breaking by means of the rainforest cover created a magical outcome:

Tips for wildlife photos with character

You may also play with shade-sun mixtures, the place your topic is roofed in shade however the background is lit by the solar. And check out some facet lighting, too, which may give your photographs a beautiful sense of three-dimensionality.

One closing tip: Should you do use mild in an unconventional method, watch out about your publicity. Backlight, as an illustration, could cause you to blow out the highlights across the animal, which is an enormous downside – so be sure to choose your digital camera settings rigorously. When it really works, although, it actually works!

Creating wildlife pictures with character and character: closing phrases

Tips for wildlife photos with character

Nicely, there you’ve got it:

Six tricks to seize loads of character and character in your wildlife pictures. Hopefully, you now really feel impressed to go out together with your digital camera and create some distinctive photographs.

On the finish of the day, I’d actually simply advocate that you simply hold clicking the shutter every time one thing of curiosity occurs. Don’t wait and attempt to save area in your reminiscence card. In any other case, you would possibly simply miss one thing wonderful!

Now over to you:

Do you’ve got any suggestions for conveying character in wildlife images that we missed? Share your ideas within the feedback beneath!





  • GEAR