Corlette Wessels is a professional photographer specialized in wildlife images.
In this article over at Africa Geographic she reveals her best tips on capturing the true essence of wildlife in her photographs. Besides picking a nice location and an interesting subject (well, I believe they’re all interesting) there are some tricks you can use to make sure your images turn out amazing.
Know your subject and its environment
I have spent a lot of time in local reserves and have learnt to predict where certain animals will be and at what time. You need to know an animal’s behaviour. For example if you see hippos on the banks of the Chobe and they are moving towards the water, anticipate how you are going to frame this shot and get yourself into the prime position to capture this.
If you see a fish eagle in a tree or on the side of the river, and he makes a “poop”, you can almost be sure the bird is about to take off. Get into position and make sure you aim a bit higher to successfully capture the moment when it takes off.
Nature and wildlife is unpredictable, anything can happen at any time. After I spent four weeks in the Kgalagadi on my own I learnt to be very patient; sitting at waterholes for four to six hours a day to get that one photograph that would make it all worth it. Don’t forget to frequently look up, watch your side mirrors and check you rear-view mirror.
I prefer to take shots as low as possible, if I can at eye lever or even lower. Obviously this depends on the environment and the animal; most of the time you will always be lower than a elephant, giraffe or a leopard up a tree while you might not get to the eye level of a mouse or snake.
Shoot wider and closer
You can get very good photographs and unique shots without big lenses. If you zoom out wider, or use a wide angle prime lens, you are able to capture the environment the animals are in as well as create more ambiance in the photograph.
Source: Africa Geographic