Top 10 Secrets of the Pros for Wildlife Photography

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If you’re just starting out in wildlife photography and want to learn from an expert, the below tutorial from professional photographer Steve Perry is a great place to start. In the video at the bottom of this post, Perry shares his top ten pro secrets that beginner wildlife photographers need to know.

“Want to learn ten rapid-fire wildlife photography tips that’ll make your success rate higher (and your life easier) the next time you’re in the field?” Perry asks. “In this video, I’ll share ten killer tech tips that every wildlife photographer should know for consistently capturing the best possible images on every outing.”

Tip #1: Check Your Settings

“Each time you bring your camera to your eye, glance at your settings,” Perry says. “Ensure you have an appropriate shutter speed, f-stop and ISO for what you see in the viewfinder. Not only will this prevent accidents, it will get you to confirm that you really are using the best settings for the situation you see in the viewfinder.”

Tip #2: Progressively Step Down Your ISO

“When you’re facing a relatively stationary subject in low light, ISOs are often a problem, no matter what kind of support you’re using: handheld, monopod, or tripod. You can try progressively dropping your ISO to nail the best quality shot.”

Tip #3: Use Longer Burst for Sharper Photos

“Longer bursts will increase your chances of a sharp image. Now how can shooting longer bursts give you sharpener images? Basically, you’re playing the numbers game.”

Tip #4: Always Verify Your Tripod Is Secure

“Each time you set up your tripod, push down on the top before you mount your camera. I’ve seen too many people fail to do this only to watch one of the tripod legs they thought was secure collapse, bringing the entire rig to the ground.”

Tip #5: Help the Camera Focus

“Give the camera a hand with a little manual focus. When the camera is having a tough time getting a lock, I manually focus the lens and get focus close to correct. Then I engage AF to finish it off.”

Tip #6: Still Can’t Focus? Turn the Camera!

“When the camera is reluctant to latch onto my target, I’ll rotate the camera 45 degrees and try again. If it locks on, just release your AF on button or lock focus, turn the camera back and fire away.”

Tip #7: Running Low on Memory? Try Crop Mode!

“If you’ve ever found yourself at risk of filling your memory cards and don’t have any extras with you, one technique that can sometimes help is switching to crop mode. Shooting in crop mode reduces the size of the file and allows you to put more photos on your card.”

Tip #8: Watch for Blurry Foreground Objects

“One habit that’s helped me is always looking over my lens to see if there are any sticks, blades of grass, vines, leaves or similar obstacles between my camera and my subject. The problem is, if you just look in the viewfinder these objects can often blur out and look more or less invisible.”

Tip #9: Anticipating a Shadow Pull? Keep the ISO Low!

“Often when we’re shooting, we notice shady area that we later intend to pull up once we’re back home processing the RAW file. If you anticipate a shadow pull back home, do everything in your power to keep the ISO as low as possible in the field.”

Tip #10: Start Tracking Before It’s Time to Shoot      

“If you shoot wildlife action, when you start tracking is often the difference between a keeper and a reject flag. I have the highest success rate when I start tracking before I actually need to shoot.”

Watch the video below to get all the tips and if you want more great wildlife photography advice, check out his other tutorial with eight secrets for sharper wildlife photos.

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