Wildlife photographers’ common mistakes

posted 18th July 2019 by Danica Wilson in Work in progress

Photographer Michael Snedic wrote a great article for the Australian Photography magazine last year titled ‘Six common mistakes wildlife photographers make‘.

We share some of the article here.


#1 Wildlife photographers common mistakes

Don’t forget to leave space around the subject

One of the most common mistakes photographers make when photographing wildlife is not leaving room in the direction the animal is facing. By leaving room in that particular direction, it ‘balances’ the image and also makes the viewer think “I wonder where the animal is looking”? The image featured here of the crouching leopard is a good example. 



What is the leopard looking at? Is it a gazelle, about to be hunted? Basically, it leaves the viewer guessing and makes for a much more aesthetically-pleasing image. The same rule applies for leaving too much room behind an animal. This is known as ‘wasted space’ and doesn’t make for great composition.

#2 Common mistake

Shoot at eye level

A common mistake made by photographers is to look straight down onto a subject. In the case of the image featured with the baby elephants playing, some of my safari participants were standing up in the vehicle we were in and photographing down over the top of them. I suggested they sit back down, rest a beanbag that was provided on the rail and place their camera/lens on the beanbag.



It makes for a much more pleasant angle when, if possible, you are looking at eye level to your subject and the beanbag helps to stabilise your gear.

#3 Common mistake

Don’t be impatient (especially in Africa)

One mistake some wildlife photographers make when trying to photograph wildlife interactions and behaviours, is to become impatient.  People often comment how ‘lucky’ I am to have such a large portfolio of wildlife behaviour images, but without patience, as well as using the correct camera settings, many of the images wouldn’t have been possible.

Here is a good example. On the third day of our 2018 Kenya Photo Safari, my group and I were told that there was a pride of female lions with cubs, resting under a tree.

We drove to the spot and, as described, the lion pride was resting and all were quite sedate. I could sense that my group were ready to move on to something else, but suggested we wait a bit longer.

I have often been rewarded for my patience in the past, so we gave it a go. Not ten minutes later, two sibling lion cubs got up and started playing! We all ended up with lots of different images of them playing, the one featured being one of them.

To read the full article click the button below.

full article