10 Pro Tips Every Wildlife Photographer Should Know

There are many forms of wildlife photography, from capturing images of big cats in the Serengeti to shooting colorful birds at a local park or animal sanctuary. While the choice of gear often depends upon the particular assignment, many important techniques are the same.

In the video below from one of our favorite nature photographers, you’ll pick up 10 valuable tips in just 11 minutes that every wildlife photographer should know. Steve Perry is an acclaimed pro with tons of experience shooting wildlife in the field, and in this episode he explains how to capture the best possible images in a variety of situations.

For those of you who don’t have an opportunity to travel, these tips will even prove invaluable when shooting at a nearby zoo. We’ve posted tutorials from Perry in the past, involving artistic and compositional considerations, but this video is devoted specifically to camera techniques that will make an instant difference in your results.

Perry’s fast-paced lesson begins with a detailed discussion of camera settings for various subjects and conditions, and he says, “Each time you bring the camera up to your eye, glance at your settings to make sure you have an appropriate shutter speed, f/stop, and ISO for what you see in the viewfinder.” This may sound simple, but it takes a bit of practice to make it second nature.

His second tip involves progressively stepping down your ISO setting to nail the best quality shot. He also suggests using longer bursts for a higher percentage of sharp shots—particularly when using slow shutter speeds with relatively stationary subjects.

Other topics incliude "helping your camera" attain precise focus, when to use crop mode with a full-frame camera, and paying attention to blurry foreground objects. For complete details on these and Perry’s other techniques, pay close attention to the video.

You can find more helpful advice on Perry’s YouTube channel and in another nature photography tutorial we posted, demonstrating seven essential techniques for amazing bird photographs.