How To Photograph Wildlife

Get some pro-tips for seeing and photographic wildlife. Learn more about watching wildlife.

Tip: Time your outing when wildlife is most active: ideally dawn or dusk.

Bull elk in the foreground, a mountain out of focus in the distance

Tip: Use binoculars, a spotting scope, or a telephoto lens for a safe, close-up view.

A horse grazes on grass

Tip: Use the zoom on your phone or camera, and to steady your shot, touch your elbows to your ribcage, or rest your elbows on your knee or another stable surface.

A squirrel coming out of a tree hole

Tip: Your phone's volume buttons may also work to zoom if you don't have a free hand to use your touch-screen zoom

A mother grizzly bear and cub

Tip:Look to the edges of the landscape (e.g. where forest trees meet an open meadow).

Two deer in a meadow

Tip:Stay quiet and still. Noise and quick movements can threaten wildlife.

Two deer standing in a pond

Tip: When photographic from a safe distance, skilled photographers suggest lining up the horizon of the landscape along the lower third of your frame and/or lining up the animal(s) to one of the four intersection points.

Squirrel in the snow

Tip: Pull safely off the road, and use your car as a safe enclosure for viewing and photographing from a distance. Not only do cars provide a layer of protection, they also provide surfaces that can help you stabilize your camera.

A bear with a car in the distance

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Last updated: September 13, 2021