Understand your subjects
Know the animals you’re photographing - their habits and personalities. This can make the difference between capturing a bird as it catches its prey, or watching it fly past you. Spend time in the field, do your research, and be patient. A deeper understanding of the wildlife you’re shooting will make sure you never miss those perfect moments.
There are certain unwritten rules in wildlife photography, but respect is key. Keep your distance, be safe, and take calculated risks. It is always a good idea to avoid mating season, and never get between a mother and her young.
It is important not to disturb the wildlife, so using a camera with a quiet shutter mode is vital. This will enable you to blend in and take more organic shots of animals in their natural environments.
Use the natural environment to your advantage
The sun is one of the most useful tools you have, so make use of it. My favourite time to shoot is at the beginning and end of the day, in what wildlife photographers call the ‘golden hour’ - the period shortly after sunrise or just before sunset. This often coincides with heightened animal activity, so you’re bound to get a great shot.
Take your time
Nature can be unpredictable and is often not on your side. A tremendous amount of luck is involved in wildlife photography. Despite your research, if an animal is not where you thought it would be, you cannot photograph it. Don’t let this stop you. Pause and rethink your angle, work with what you have today, or come back and try again tomorrow.
Choose your kit carefully
Choose your lenses carefully. Think about how close you need to get to your subject. The longer the focal length, the closer you can get. Take multiple lenses with you, because you never know what lens will work best in that unexpected moment.