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Tips to Improve Your Wildlife Photography - What is White Balance?

Nature Photography Chukar

Consider white balance as the evaluation of all the colors of light in a scene – and balancing out what you see as white with your eyes, so that it shows up as white in an image. There’s quite a lot to proper white balance. But, basically, the point of shooting with the correct white balance is so you can capture the color in an image as accurately as possible.

Tips to Improve Your Wildlife Photography - White Balance Tips For Portraits

Blue Jay Backyard Photography Tips

Why is white balance such a big deal when it comes to photographing portraits? Because it can say so much about who you are photographing or what you are wishing to convey. If you are photographing a portrait, for instance, and you unintentionally capture your subject with a yellow cast, you risk making them appear sickly. Shoot the portrait with an unintentional blue cast, and you can make that same subject look cold, even withdrawn. And an unintentional orange, or tungsten, cast can convey a lack of photographic training on your part.

Tips to Improve Your Wildlife Photography - Experiment with Double Exposure

Jet 15 & Pace at Sunrise Air Race Photography

Use your editing chops and experiment with an old film favorite – double exposure. For the beginner, download an app like Fused; if you’re advanced, you can accomplish this in Photoshop.

Tips to Improve Your Wildlife Photography - Start a Self-Portrait Project

Lyn Starnes

You may think smartphones have popularized the self-portrait, but I like to think it dates back to when royalty was sitting for hours on end getting their portrait done. Be your own Vivian Maier, reinvent what a self-portrait means to you, and start your very own series.

Remember, there’s more to making a captivating photograph than simply having an object in the frame. If you simply snap large numbers of photos hoping to get an award winning photograph, you may find that your photograph will not be as captivating after you return home as it was in person.

Tips to Improve Your Wildlife Photography - Explore new heights and angles

Explore new heights and angles.

Use a tripod, like the GorillaPod, to attach your camera to some different items – you’ll be able to capture images in completely new angles!  Practice shooting from ground level – lay down on the ground for example!  Then climb some rocks to get above an area where other photographers shoot.  Millions of photographs have been taken of Artist Point in Yellowstone National Park.  The challenge is to get a different angle, height or lighting!

Remember, there’s more to making a captivating wildlife photograph than simply having an animal, any animal in the frame. If you simply snap large numbers of photos hoping to get an award winning photograph, you may find that your photograph will not be as captivating after you return home as it was in person.

Practice.

Practice.

Practice.

Tips to Improve Your Wildlife Photography - Spice Up Your Lens Collection

Lyn Starnes

Go ahead and treat yourself to a less than traditional lens – like the Lensbaby Spark for your DSLR or the Anamorphic Lens from Moment for your phone. With an avant-garde lens, you can get really creative and have some fun!  Using unusual lens can create creative images in the camera rather than hoping you can do it in the after shot processing.

Refresh Your Skills with a Class

Cattle Farming Old Homestead wildlife-photos

No matter how long you’ve been a digital photographer, there are new ways to process your photographs constantly.  So, even if you are happy with your download and processing process, look around for how other photographers handle their work.  It’s always a good idea to brush up on your editing techniques or the way you manipulate lighting. Take a class online – like on Udemy, Adobe, CreativeLive, or MasterClass or join a local photography club to connect with other photographers in your area.

Tips to Improve Your Wildlife Photography - Time

Stallion Yawn Nevada horse photography take your time

We often think of wildlife photography as being exciting, but more often than not, the best images come from hours in a blind or using brush to hide.  That is, it is almost impossible to walk up on many types of animals.  The best wildlife photographers invest large quantities of time sitting and waiting for their best photographs.

Photography is all about that special moment when the animal is doing something – whether it’s flying, walking, making eye contact, or interacting with another animal. The best photograph has a combination of leg or wing movement, and positioning of their face.  Animals blink just like humans so expect a number of photographs with closed eyes. Once an animals turns to walk away, you are finished – no one wants a “butt shot.” Once you observe and understand animal behavior, be patient, be quiet, and wait.

Tips to Improve Your Wildlife Photography - Practice!

Blue Jay, backyard photography, Great Wildlife Photography

You don’t have to wait to practice your photography skills.  Keep your skills sharp by practicing with animals at your local city park or zoo. You might surprise yourself and come up with some of your favorite shots. Try practicing with squirrels.  They move fast and unexpectedly.  If you can stop the action of a squirrel, you will learn the techniques you will use later with wolves or bears.

Try setting up a bird feeder outside your window and you can practice on the birds that come right to you.

Remember, there’s more to making a captivating wildlife photograph than simply having an animal, any animal in the frame. If you simply snap large numbers of photos hoping to get an award winning photograph, you may find that your photograph will not be as captivating after you return home as it was in person.

Practice.

Practice.

Practice.

Tips to Improve Your Wildlife Photography - Carry Two Camera Bodies

Mule Deer Nevada

The most important thing is to capture that special moment, so don’t miss it by changing lenses. It’s better to pick two lenses to work with, and have each mounted on its own camera body. Then, when you need to switch, you simply put down one camera, pick up the other, and you’ll be ready to shoot in less than one second. I usually use one camera with a 70-300mm lens, and the other with a 400mm lens.

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