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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

Get in Position

  • Approach animals slowly, from downwind. You don’t want to startle them–you want them to get used to your presence. (Photographer Kennan Ward swears that turning his tripod upside down when approaching caribou makes him look like he has antlers.)
  • Observe the animal’s direction of travel and move to where it will approach you.
  • Keep a safe distance. Yellowstone National Park recommends getting no closer than 25 yards (100 yards for bears). If the animal looks alarmed or retreats, you’re too close.
  • Practice standard wildlife photography ethics. Don’t chase an animal, make noises to get it to look at you, or interfere with its normal behavior or routine.
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