Tips On Taking Pictures of Zoo Animals
Even if you don’t have a big budget to indulge in your wildlife photography pursuits, you don’t have to limit your options to African safaris or other exotic locations. For starters, why not just take pictures within your local zoo? It will save you hundreds of dollars plus you don’t have to wait for the animal to show up in ungodly hours just so you can take a decent shot. Plus, there is almost zero chance of hurting yourself or putting yourself in danger because everything is within their respective cages and there are zoo keepers around to assist you.
You have lighting at your side since your local zoo usually operates at day time. ISO 100 would perfectly complement outdoor lighting. It brings out the crispiness and sharpness of the image which won’t be compromised even if you try to enlarge it during the editing process. For indoor photo shoots, chose ISO 200 or 400.
Here are other important tips to remember as you embark on your local wildlife photography:
- Be familiar with the rules and regulations within the zoo especially those about taking pictures of animals. It would be best to get the information first hand from the management so you can ensure that you are allowed to use other camera accessories such as tripods. You also have to clarify if you can use flashes and if you can take pictures near the animal cages or shelters.
- Visit on days where there are few visitors like in the middle of the week and during midday. The best pictures can be ruined by passers-by and unexpected background images. It would also be frustrating to ask people to respect your privacy or not block your view.
- Like a boy scout, always be prepared. Bring extra batteries, charger, and other camera equipment. And pay attention to your stuff especially when there are people around. You don’t want to lose valuable items while you are concentrating to take a great shot.
- Use a small depth of field to get shots of animals within closed spaces. You want the subject to stand out while blurring out the background. You can put focus on the fact that the animal is living the big life out in the open and not trapped behind cages.
- Use a longer and wide-angle lens so you can zoom in on animals that are too far from you. Don’t let this disadvantage hinder you from capturing the best part of the subject. There are a lot of ways that you can add interest to the scene even if the animal is within an enclosure.
- Increase the colour texture of your subject and its background by using a polarizer filter. It can also soften the effect of the harsh sunlight as well as making different colours and hues pop out.
- Even if you think your camera is light and compact, you would grow weary after more than half an hour of taking pictures so don’t forget your tripod. It is the perfect solution to tired hands and aching arms. By also utilizing a slow shutter speed, more colours will be absorbed, giving justice to your shots.
- Take advantage of the moment when the animal is positioned in the exact way you envision it to be. It might only be for a few seconds, or minutes – if you are lucky – so just ignore your LCD screen because you can just edit everything later. The most important thing is you have seized the opportunity and have taken as many shots as possible.
- Decrease the amount of shadow by using the flash mode. Of course, there is nothing you can do when the animal moves in such a position where there is too much shadow in the image but you can always look at your camera options to make the most out of it.
- Don’t be discouraged even if seasoned wildlife photographers raise their eyebrows at your endeavour to shoot at zoos. Your main goal is to enhance your wildlife photography skills even in a local setting like the zoo.
Practice makes perfect and it doesn’t matter where you do it as long as you are willing to learn honing your skills. Good luck with your photography endeavour at the zoo!