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The Manual: How to Shoot Wildlife Photography

Find and frame animals perfectly with this wildlife photography primer.
compose perfect photocompose perfect photo

Compose the Perfect Shot

Position the animal so it’s gazing toward the center of the photo. Leave "active space" for the subject to look or move into for a more dynamic shot. Exceptions: Center the subject if it’s looking or moving toward you.

Include the environment, but avoid distracting background features (vegetation, boulders) that make the photo look cluttered.

Use the rule of thirds: Imagine three horizontal and three vertical lines across the photo, and position the animal at one of the intersections. Exceptions: Center the subject if it’s looking or moving toward you.

Shoot from dawn until 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. until dusk for the best natural light.

Squat down and photograph animals at their eye level for an intimate feel. "Catchlight" (reflection) in the eyes makes the subject look more alive.

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