When I was young I used to tie my red and black jump rope to the railing on the stairs and throw my weight into it as I climbed up a steep and treacherous mountain. Upstairs, I hid my stuffed animals in clever locations and used my binoculars to view the dangerous wildlife: mostly bears and the occasional zebra.
Once I started exploring the less-dangerous though equally exciting world of photography, I itched to take photos of wildlife. The closest I could get to photographing animals was usually a variety of insect and sometimes the terrifying arachnid.
So when I went to Audubon Zoo for the first time since my field trip there in the first grade, I tried out some definitely fake but arguably convincing “wildlife photography.”
Fun Photography Tips for the Zoo
- Keep a small aspect ratio. Zoo habitats are always small and you want to keep your frame tight and full, without capturing any stray signs or fellow zoo-goers. Notice how these photos are very close-cropped.
- Get as much natural background into your photo as possible. Zoo habitats also make great backdrops since they are made to be displays in themselves.
- Don’t be afraid to get close to the smaller animals. Smaller animals usually get smaller spaces, and it’s easier for you to bring your camera up close.
- Edit for texture. A large source of interest in any photo is created by texture — highlighting feathers and scales will give your photo crisper definition.
- Take advantage of the natural light. Do not use flash! Obviously, your camera’s flash is problematic for the animals, and it also creates harsh shadows in the daylight. Use the sun to your advantage, and let it color your photo for you.