What Makes a Good Wildlife Photograph? | Londolozi Blog

About the Author

Chris Taylor

Ranger

Chris was born and raised in the Kwa-Zulu/Natal Midlands where his family inspired his early passion for the natural world. Exploring Southern Africa as he grew up, this passion was allowed to develop and his curiosity to expand. After high school, Chris spent ...

View Chris's profile

37 Comments

on What Makes a Good Wildlife Photograph?

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Francesca Doria
Digital Tracker

All so captivating. You closed in the best way: the emotional link between mother and calf also the calf looks directly to the camera. Really well done

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks Francesca! Glad you enjoyed it.

William Paynter
Senior Digital Ranger

Chris, thanks for the lessons in photography. Great pictures.

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks William.

Joan Schmiidt
Master Tracker

Dean, I loved the leopard🤗, I loved lions🤗

Ian Hall
Master Tracker

Lovely article , if I could suggest
* Rule of thirds , notice the effect of not having the subject in the centre of the shot
* Spot metering, use the animal and not the background
* Generally have the aperture set as fast as possible , to blur the background and to avoid camera shake
* Try and get the shot so the camera is looking straight into the eyes
* If possible, try to tell a story. In the Impala photo all are drinking bar one, or the leopard stalking using an elephant as cover

Chris Taylor
Ranger

All really valid points Ian. Thank you.

Valmai Vorster
Digital Tracker

Photography is a very interesting subject and is a large part of people’s lives today. Be it just taking foto’s at home or on holiday, everyone wants some kind of a reminder of where they have been and what took place at a certain time. Today’s photography is much quicker than a few years back. I worked in the dark room for a photographic shop, developing black and white foto’s and enlarging colour foto’s from a negative. Today you use a media card going digital and can print at home. Today’s camera’s are so advanved ,it helps especially if you’re just beginning out in photography. Light, background , framing and using the right lens helps to get the better picture. Taking foto’s of wild animals in the bush is tricky and they don’t stay in one spot for too long. Never the less photography is unique and the more you experiment with your camera the more you want to learn.

Chris Taylor
Ranger

We are very lucky at how advanced the camera technology has become. It helps us out a lot when trying to get the perfect shot – especially if you take the time to practise.

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

Great framework for taking interesting, personal images! Thanks, Chris!

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks Vin, glad you enjoyed it.

John Rennocks
Explorer

Good to see you acknowledge luck as a key ingredient, but unlike me, where sheer volume of shots and a great deal of luck is essential, it is quite clear your skills are rapidly overtaking luck. Timing and patience are also key – as in your fantastic shot of a leopard through the elephant ‘frame. Quite superb.

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Luck is a key ingredient in a lot of things but especially wildlife photography! But I think it was Gary Player who once said, “the more you practise, the luckier you get”

John Rennocks
Explorer

Chris, yes it was Gary Player! I would love to be there more often to get more practise but a combination of COVID and the Bank Manager make that difficult from the UK. J.

Mike Wessel
Explorer

Chris, wow! Great article. Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge. The Leopard coming down the tree. I so love that image!

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks Mike. Glad you enjoyed the post and the image.

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

All the photos shown are great, Chris. Technical aspects, light and perspective are certainly very important points.In animal photography – as you said – anticipation is also very important. I admire the guides and trackers who very often have that good idea of what will happen next, so that you can position the cars and your guests in the best place for taking a great photo.

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks Christa. It’s always an exciting challenge for the guides and trackers to anticipate and predict the animals movements and behaviour. We don’t always get it right but even then, we learn from it.
Hope you are keeping well.

Cally Staniland
Digital Tracker

Chris, a great lesson layed out in an easy to understand manual ! Thanks a heap🙏🏻.. if I can put aside my excitement at witnessing whatever the scene might be and the fear of missing something special, I might just get a perfect shot one day, that’s if I remember to charge the batteries ‼️😁 Your beautiful photographs will inspire me to try a little harder when we finally get a chance to venture your way.

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks Cally, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Sometimes the excitement levels do get quite high – even for me as a guide – and causes us to miss that perfect shot. However it’s also important to remember to not let the camera get in the way of enjoying something special. I often have moments where simply choose not to pick my camera up, just to enjoy what is happening in front me without any distractions. So don’t feel bad if you don’t get the shot!

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Very enjoyable overview Chris. Lucie and I are particular believers in your comment: “Nobody gets it right all the time, but practicing with your camera, being quick with the settings, and knowing its capabilities are all non-negotiable in getting a great shot.” And the knowledge you Guides provide in animal behavior is priceless! We both remember one of our first safaris when watching the Mashaba female in a tree and JV said “Get ready she’s coming down the tree and when she gets about two meters from the bottom she will leap to the ground. Press and hold the shutter release the instant she looks towards the ground”. Best advice ever and some of our best shots of leopards!!!

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks Bob. Good to hear that you managed to get some great photos of one of the most well known leopards in the Sabi Sands and that JV was there to guide you through it all.

Mama Lioness
Senior Digital Ranger

A+ teaching session Chris! (less a couple of typos,.. 🙂 ) – You’re conclusion is absolutely spot on pertaining to photography. More so, that of how Wild Life photography should be come to be accomplished. Every pictures tells it’s own story upon giving the viewer perspective and time for thought. The first thought that comes mind many a times is “WOW!”, .. while other pictures give way to a feeling of tranquility, or expressions of love. –
For those of us who don’t live in South Africa, thus we live from afar, and sadly, can’t do the luxury of a safari),.. the pictures are a daily escape from our “mainland norm” and a way to relax for a while.

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Chris, Thanks for the great reminder of all the key elements of getting a great shot! We feel that luck is one of the greatest gifts you can get, especially when shooting images of wildlife!

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Very true. Thanks Michael and Terry.

Lisa Antell
Digital Tracker

I am a novice in this wildlife photography world. I hope to continue to learn and explore and develop my skills further as I travel on safari.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Chris, very good tips for trying for that special wildlife photo. It also helps to have good lenses to achieve the sharpness that is essential for most shots. I learned the hard way !

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks Denise. You’re right; good equipment goes a long way to getting you the right photo!

Barbi Evenson
Senior Digital Ranger

To be able to capture a moment in time with a photograph has always amazed me. It can and most times does touch our hears deeply. I can think of no greater gift than a beautiful
photograph 💖

Chris Taylor
Ranger

I agree Barbi. A good, meaningful photograph can carry so much.

Linda From California
Senior Digital Ranger

You state in your article how the picture is to tell a story, evoke an emotion, the photos that you share do just that. My favorite is the lighting with the lion. Spectacular. You presented a quick lesson on photography and shared examples of each one. Well done.

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks Linda. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

Carly M
Senior Digital Ranger

Wow there are some exceptional photos here! Absolutely stunning. A very interesting article thanks!

Chris Taylor
Ranger

Thanks Carly.

Paul Canales
Digital Tracker

Incredible post Chris!! The information was deeply engaging, and the photos you chose to illustrate your thoughts and the point make in the article are stunning!!

Joel Kleiner
Digital Ranger

This is all very exciting and inspirational for me, as I am preparing to leave from the U.S.A. and visit Londolozi in a liitle more than a week. It will be my third visit. I have been following these daily events very closely as the time to depart from New York is very close. Thank you all for your terrific photos and very interesting accounts of your sights and sounds of mother nature in Londolozi.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Hi Joel, that is amazing news that you are going to be able to make it across here. We are so looking forward to having you. While you are here shout if you need any help or photographic tips. I am sure you will have an amazing time while you are here. It is a great time to visit.

Connect with Londolozi

Follow Us

One moment...
Anonymous
Be the first to this photo
You and 1 others this photo
q

Filed under
Anonymous
10 April, 2798
+
Add Profile