Wildlife Photography Requires Sensitivity and Caring for Your Subjects

Wildlife photography can be one of the most rewarding and creative types of photography. It requires you to think and react quickly to catch the perfect shot before it's gone. Wildlife photography can produce some of the most stunning photographs you'll ever take, but it requires that you are very careful not to cause an impact on the environment you are photographing.

Leave No Trace

Wildlife photography will often take you to beautiful locations and put you right in the middle of unbelievable scenes involving your wildlife subjects. As tempting as it may be to get close to get your shot, you must remember that the animals you are photographing can actually be harmed by your interaction.

In the course of your wildlife photography, never get close enough to disturb your subjects. If you are shooting two playing deer and they spot you and stop what they were doing, you need to remove yourself and retreat to a comfortable distance. Don't allow your actions to startle the wildlife you are trying to photograph.

Obey all laws, rules, customs, and landowner requests when you are shooting wildlife photography on land that is not your own. If you are shooting in a national park, obey the park regulations - they are there for a reason. Also, be sure to obtain permission before venturing on to private property. Many landowners won't have a problem with you shooting there as long as you are respectful and don't do any damage. If you behave badly, though, they probably won't give the next photographer permission to use their land.

Always remember that wildlife photography involves actual wildlife - that is, animals who are just trying to live their lives. You may be there for a little while, observing them, but after you leave they will continue with their activities. Therefore, don't be selfish and trample their habitat. Don't cause a baby animal to become separated from its mother. Don't do anything that could be seen as threatening.

At times, wildlife photography can actually be dangerous to you if you aren't careful. If you venture too close or if you seem like a threat, there is a chance that your subjects could try to forcibly remove you from their area.

Respect the area and your subjects enough to leave no trace of your visit. The old hiking adage, "take only pictures, leave only footprints" remains very true in wildlife photography. Littering or otherwise altering the environment could have devastating unforeseen impacts on the wildlife.

Wildlife photography can be a rewarding and fulfilling way to express your creativity and love for nature. Just remember to always act in a respectful and ethical way. Your subjects will thank you.