Wildlife Photo Tips

A response to the many who enjoy the regular Sunday photo parade.

Jean and I have recently joined the National Wildlife Federation partly because there are times when it really does seem ‘wild’!  Anyway, I was trawling the NWF website the other day and came across this very helpful advice: 7 Wildlife Photo Tips to Never Forget. In view of the popularity of Sunday’s regular Picture Parade on Learning from Dogs, it seemed appropriate to dip into that section for today’s post. [Note: you will have to go to the website to read the full article as it would be wrong to republish the entire item without permission.]

7 Wildlife Photo Tips to Never Forget

This guest post by Jim Goldstein is sponsored by BorrowLenses.com.

I’ve always felt great wildlife photography mapped well to the Chinese proverb “the journey is the reward.” While I obviously enjoy seeing the end result of my wildlife photography outings I get a great deal of satisfaction in the crafting of those images. My best images often rise to the top because of one of the following maxims:

1. Backgrounds are Equally Important as Your Subject

2. Embrace Serendipity When Photo Editing

3. Challenge Viewers with Anthropomorphism

4. Employ Non-Standard Compositions

5. Capture Your Subjects at Their Eye Level

6. Factor in Form and Pose

7. Utilize Negative Space

I am going to republish just one of these tips to give you an idea, because the advice is stunning, in my humble opinion.

2. Embrace Serendipity When Photo Editing

Arctic Hare. Canon 1D Mark II, Canon 500mm f/2.8 + 1.4x teleconverter, 1/640 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400
Arctic Hare. Canon 1D Mark II, Canon 500mm f/2.8 + 1.4x teleconverter, 1/640 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400

When behind the camera, focus carefully on your subject. But when photo editing look for unique and subtle differences that might enhance or transform the story within your image. Case in point: this example image of a mosquito biting the nose of an Arctic Hare. My attention was on obtaining a razor sharp image and composing carefully, but when photo editing I found a couple frames that captured the biting mosquito that had been invisible to me at the time I took the photo.

Arctic Hare Being Bitten By Mosquito on the Nose
Arctic Hare Being Bitten By Mosquito on the Nose

Jim Goldstein is a San Francisco-based professional photographer and author who has been in numerous publications, including Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, Popular Photography and has self-published a PDF eBook Photographing the 4th Dimension – Time covering numerous slow shutter techniques. Follow Jim Goldstein on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | 500px

Do take a few moments and go across to the website and read the full set of tips.  If you have any interest in photographing nature and wildlife this is unmissable good advice.  Want to know more about the National Wildlife Federation?  More information here.

10 thoughts on “Wildlife Photo Tips

  1. Wonderful post, and great photos too! Photography is a great way to connect with nature.

    I’m happy to have my little Canon and hope to take a class or learn more about it one day. Sometimes, because my eye sight isn’t 20/20, I don’t see things in my photos until I upload them and view them on screen. I’m often surprised when I see bees or hummingbirds, when I only saw a butterfly!

    Hoping you are doing well Paul, and Jean and your critters too.


    1. Michelle, how lovely to have your comment and to hear from you again.

      Yes, we are doing very well at this end, albeit been somewhat concerned about the number of wildfires in our part of the world. But the closest fire is now more or less out so that has reduced the immediate risk of evacuation. The smoke is a bit tiresome at times but it’s all OK.

      How are things with you?


      1. Thank you, Paul. I’m glad to hear you guys are doing well and that the fires are somewhat controlled.

        I hope to visit Oregon one day. Maybe we will meet! I met my first blogging friend (in person) not long ago, and what a great time we had together. Meeting a person online and then in person (who traveled from CT to NC), makes the world seem small, but in a good way.

        We are doing fair here. That’s about all I can say online. We’ve had better days, you know. I guess I’m forever regaining hope. I’m sort of in a place of feeling like it all has to get better from where I stand. Thank you for asking and maybe in the near future I can give a more positive report.

        I love the photography site you suggested in your comments! I got a photo yesterday of a male Cardinal feeding his young. I saw him again today. I love watching the Mommy and Daddy birds caring for their family and was quite proud of my photo 😉 It’s raining now and there are at least six Mourning Doves in my yard as I write! One is pecking the other on top of the head. I have no clue why!

        Warm wishes,


  2. I will be going to the links provided Paul and some good tips too… I’m afraid I am just a Happy Click girl who normally has her mobile phone on her and if I see something I like I click… Like that Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar upon my lawn the other day… It made me smile as how nature can disguise something to look so ugly to transcend into something so beautiful as the Moth.. Nature is always so clever in her bid to help save them from getting scooped up and eaten by birds..

    Enjoyed the shared photos here too… 🙂


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