Travel Photography: Animals

Probably one of the most difficult subjects to shoot for a travel photography journal is animals. However, there are some basic guidelines you can follow to capture a great animal shot.

Step 1: Choose a Subject

Animal travel photos can be categorized into 2 different types - domestic and wildlife. Often times, we tend to choose wildlife for our travel photos. However, capturing the domestic animals in a location can be intriguing as well. It is advisable, though, to capture both types of animals. If you do plan to capture domestic animals, it is highly recommended that you capture them in the context of the destination you are at. Choose a domestic animal in a landmark or destination the place is known for. This will bring the travel aspect of your animal shot as oppose to just having a regular shot of an animal.

Step 2: Choose a Location

It is important to remember that animals can be sensitive when it comes to having their pictures taken. A slight movement or noise can scare them off. In this regard, it is important that you choose your location well. When shooting animals, you need to choose a location where they cannot easily spot or sense you, but still making sure you have a clear view of your subject. If you are shooting wildlife, it is best to stay at a safe distance.

Step 3: Use a Zoom Lens

The zoom lens or zoom in your camera is a great way to capture wildlife. Use 300mm to 600mm range lenses to get you a more detailed and focused shot. When using zoom lenses or telephoto lens, make sure that your camera is steady by placing it on top of a steady object. You can also use a tripod for this purpose.

Step 4: Turn Off Your Flash

It is highly recommended that you turn off your flash before you start shooting animals. The flash in your camera can certainly scare them off. In this case, it is best to use the natural light to your advantage. You can, however, use the flash of your camera if you are at a distance where you cannot disturb the animal. If you plan to shoot at night, turn your camera setting to the night mode.

Step 5: Shoot at Eye Level

When shooting animals, it is always best to shoot at eye level of the animal. This angle will create a more realistic feel rather than shooting or looking down at the animal. To get this shot, lie down, kneel or sit until you are about the same height as your subject.

Step 6: Using the Landscape and Portrait Modes

The landscape mode is a great way to include the natural habitat or background of your subject. To do this, set your camera to landscape mode. Test the photo by making sure that all the elements you want included in the shot are within the frame. It is best that you put the subject either on the right or left of the frame. You can, however, place your subject in the center if there are interesting elements on both sides of the animal. On the other hand, the portrait mode puts more focus on the subject.