5 tips for photographing animals

While photographing my children is high on my list of favorite photography subjects, animals are a close second. (This includes our feathered friends too.)

My husband groans each time I grab the camera for our umpteenth outing to our local zoo. He stresses that the animals remain the same and I’ve photographed them a zillion times. True but I honestly believe animals are like kids…they’re very unpredictable and when you least expect it, you will get that perfect postcard shot!

I don’t claim to be an expert animal photographer but I will admit I’m incredibly passionate about my wild subjects. So if you follow these 5 self-learned tips, you too can get some fantastic shots by the end of your next trip to the zoo/Natural Reserve.

1. Be patient.

Don’t expect an animal to strike up a pose the next time you walk past their enclosure. You may need to take 10-20 photographs before you get that perfect shot.

If you’re looking for easy photographs with personality, spend time photographing primates. They never fail to disappoint!

2. Don’t use your flash unless really necessary.

Make the most of the natural light available. You definitely want your subjects to look as natural as possible..

3. Invest in a camera that has a decent zoom.

I’d definitely recommend a minimum 14x but the higher the better.

I’m waiting to pour my savings into a DSLR but right now the point and shoot Sony camera I use is serving me well with its 16x zoom. It helps me capture an animal’s expression up close, from the comfort of its natural surrounding, even though I’m actually quite a distance away..

4. Include the “bigger picture”

There are times when an animal’s surroundings add substance to a photograph. You may not know it till you go home and look through the photographs you’ve taken. So while in action, make sure you take animal close-ups and habitat inclusions..

5. Have fun!

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get that National Geographic worthy photograph on your first outing. There’s always a next time.

If you have young kids, you can print and laminate your photographs and make them animal flash cards or even make a stack of memory cards!

Bottom line…just enjoy what you do and don’t take photography too seriously. Over time, you will explore and discover creative angles and great opportunities will pop up when you least expect it to. But till then, just make the most with what you get!

Marina J, is a Texas based, chai-loving, Mom of two giggly bundles of energy and the voice over at Energizer Bunnies’ Mommy Reports. You can find her sharing her latest updates on Facebook, pinning things she loves on Pinterest or uploading fun pics on Instagram.


  1. Great photos and tips! And I love the idea of laminating them for your kids… so doing that!

  2. I love your pics! You’re a natural :) I agree, photographing kids is somehow similar to photographing animals. Sometimes its just a nanosecond and you have a perfect shot but most of the times the pics look all the same and boring. That’s why we need patience to wait… wait…and wait for the perfect moment. But when the moment comes, its worth it! :)

  3. Good tips! Never really thought about how difficult it could be to photograph animals. And I completely agree on your first tip. Thanks for the advice!

  4. Animals are some of my favorite photography subjects because they never truly pose for a picture and they always look so natural. Great tips here!