Travel Photography: How to Photograph Wildlife with Your Phone

As a subject, wildlife is challenging to capture in images because it is elusive and often moving, partially hidden or far away. It’s really important to sometimes put the phone down and just enjoy the experience. To get the best pic, be patient and experiment. Take lots of shots, as you can edit them later. Here are some tips to overcome the biggest challenges in wildlife photography…

Subject too small?

  • Get physically closer if possible (always keep safety in mind and ask your guide)
  • Wait for the animal to move or change position
  • Remember zoom makes the image quality poorer – rather crop later
  • Add a lens accessory
  • It is rare to get close to wildlife, so consider alternatives, like showing the environment to tell a story

Image out of focus?

  • Select the auto focus (AF) point yourself. Generally you only need to tap on the screen, but familiarise yourself with your particular phone before hand
  • Select a focal point on the subject’s head

Blurry shots?

  • Ask the guide to turn off the safari vehicle engine to minimise vibration
  • Use a tripod or monopod to keep the camera steady [TAS tip: The side of the vehicle works really well. If on foot, look for a tree or rock that can keep you steady]
  • Avoid shooting when the subject is moving
  • Take a burst of action shots so you can choose the one you want

Low light?

  • Take a silhouette
  • Look for animals or trees with the light behind them
  • Shoot towards the sun
  • Try shooting from low down and point upwards to separate the subject from the horizon

Fun TAS tip: try shooting through binoculars for distant subjects