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How To Spice Up Your Wildlife Photography Images, Part 1

Updated: Sep 7, 2019

Are your photos of wildlife just not cutting it? Can't seem to get those professional looking images that have the pizazz you're looking for? Time to take a hard look at your images and start making some changes to improve your images. Let's start by just a few basic things you can do to improve your images.

Clean Up Your Background

Let's focus on the important things! Simplify your backgrounds to avoid cluttered and distracting backgrounds which distract from your subject. One way to achieve this is to limit your depth of field by selecting wider apertures such as a f/2.8 or f/4. These apertures allow very limited depth of field especially with telephoto lenses which tend to compress images by making the background seem closer than it is normally. By using a super telephoto lens such as a 400mm set at f/2.8, the background virtually disappears by dropping completely out of focus making your subject be the only thing focused.

Use Negative Space

Give me some room! By giving your subjects "room to move" adds interest to your images and adds visual appeal. When composing your image, consider the direction your subject is moving in or facing and give it extra space over there. If you frame it so there’s nowhere left for your subject to move except out of the frame, it can create an unnatural feeling for the viewer.


How low can you go? Try getting at low angles at your subjects. Sometimes using the natural contours of the land will allow you to get those low eye level shots. Look for these opportunities while out on drives. If you are fortunate enough to use dug in hides, say at watering holes, this is also a very good way to get those low level images.

Eye Contact

Hey look at me! Being patient enough to wait for that eye contact can really pay off later. There's nothing better than capturing that eye to eye interchange with an apex predator. You can feel the intensity of his stare and it will definitely connect your viewers to your image.

Get Tight

That's close enough! There is a famous quote by legendary photographer Robert Capa - “If your photos aren't good enough, then you're not close enough”. By moving in or cropping tight really adds some dynamic interest to your images. This allows all the details to be closely examined, for instance this particular leopard has a really unique scar on his lip and by being this close allows the viewer to really examine it in detail. Long lenses aid obviously in capturing these type images, but you also can crop into images in post process. This is true especially when using cameras that have large sensors that capture a lot of megapixels, the more you have the more you can crop and get away with!

These are but a few tips that can help you really spice up your wildlife image captures. We will explore more in the coming posts. Hopefully they will help capture some phenomenal images on your next outing. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

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