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  • Writer's pictureDharma

Photographing animals

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Animals are wonderful subjects to photograph. They're never self-conscious, they're just themselves.

Here are some tips on photographing animals.

Tip 1: Focus on the eyes

Photographing animals is like photographing people - every shot is a portrait. Focus on the eyes.

Tip 2: Be careful

Animals can be unpredictable so be careful. Give them space so they don't feel unsettled, startled, or threatened by your presence.

Tip 3: Snap fast!

Every photo is candid and you never know what to expect so stay alert, be patient, and grab shots fast because the moment could pass in the blink of an eye. It's better to have taken some bad shots than missed good ones.

You'll notice that many of these shots are tightly framed. I do this to cut out distracting background elements and keep the focus on the subject's expression and personality - and yes, animals can be surprisingly expressive!

To get the tight framing, I typically use telephoto lenses, mostly in the 100mm - 300mm range, with the widest lens in the photos above being 50mm. Some of the photos are also cropped so that the subjects are framed even more tightly.

The telephoto lenses provide reach so you can photograph the animals from afar and they stay calm and comfortable. This is especially important if you're on safari, where you may prohibited from disembarking the vehicle to avoid startling the wildlife.


Please consider sharing your photos with the community by tagging #dharmaportraits on your Instagram photos - I'd love to see how you're using these tips to create beautiful photos.

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