7 ways to take more creative wildlife photos

Want to create really eye-catching images of wildlife? Here are some artistic ideas that will make a good photo great.

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Lion eyes

1 Focus on the eyes 

Whether you’re taking a photo of a bird, a mammal or a close-up of an invertebrate, the key point of focus should be the eyes. Good eye contact will often get the most immediate response, but it’s not essential. If you’re using autofocus, set it on the centre of the forehead in order to deliver clearly focused eyes in your image.

2 Experiment with flash 

It’s worth experimenting with your flash to discover what it can do for you. It can brighten your subject on a dull day and make it jump out of the picture, and in bright sunlight it can fill in the shadows and reduce contrast. And when you’re shooting against a sunny sky, flash can fill in your subject to deliver the exposures you need.

3 Find new angles 

The most important aspect of any photograph is to find fresh perspectives. Obvious eye-level shots can deliver pictures that are pretty dull. You don’t need technical skills or a high-end SLR to experiment with composition. So get down low, shoot from above and work to find interesting angles to deliver exciting shots that show something new.

4 Look for contrast 

Urban settings offer plenty of opportunities for contrasts between wildlife and the landscape. Iconic objects such as flags, planes, cars, buildings and signs are all good secondary subjects to deliver contrast. Famous landmarks and people in the same shot as wildlife can make for an interesting juxtaposition.

5 Silhouette 

If you’re shooting into a sunset or sunrise to create a silhouette, you need to make sure that your subject has distinctive, well-defined contours. Horns, antlers, teeth, ears and feathers can all help to make the shape instantly recognisable. To get a clear silhouette, keep the background clean and free of distractions. 

6 Get in close 

Most compact digital cameras have a macro option, so try to get in even closer to your subjects. There are a host of potential macro subjects that rarely try to flee – anything from plant stamens to the more predictable movements of ladybirds. With a dedicated SLR lens you can get in even closer and fill the frame with just a tiny portion of the animal, such as the spectacular compound eye of this dragonfly, a multi-coloured butterfly wing or the carapace of a beetle.

7 Capture motion

Slow shutter speeds can do much to capture the dynamic motion of insects, flocks of birds and migratory animals, or the raw energy of rutting stags or battling bull elephants. Experiment with the technique of panning with a moving subject to blur the background, and to create a dynamic sense of the animal in movement

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