So, you want to try your hand at a little wildlife photography. Or perhaps you’ve been shooting wildlife with your Canon 6D for a while now, and you’d like to get better at it. Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to take a quick look at five tips to help you take wildlife photography with your 6D camera like a pro!
But before we get to it, let’s talk a little about wildlife photography. That way, you’ll be on the same page as you read this article whether you’re a newbie or an experienced wildlife photographer.
Firstly, you should know that having the Canon 6D as your camera of choice is an incredibly smart decision on your part. The camera’s 20 megapixels and other top-of-the-line specs will undoubtedly help you get some memorable snapshots of the wildlife. Still, when it comes to wildlife photography, your camera gear isn’t an essential thing to have.
You see, the thing about wildlife photography is that it’s nothing like taking portraits in a studio. Out in the wild, you have little or no control over anything; not your subjects, not the lighting, and definitely not the weather. That’s why a lot of photographers find it very difficult to master shooting animal subjects out in the wild. Still, those who do stick with it long enough always discover that wildlife photography is one of the most rewarding forms of photography there is.
So, let’s get to it. Here are your top 5 wildlife photography tips!
The first thing you should try out is getting low with your Canon 6D. Surely you have your favourite ‘photographer pose’, and you know the best ways to stand holding your camera. But while you’re standing on your two feet, there’s actually a lot about the world that you’re not seeing.
So, when you try to photograph wildlife of any kind, try and get as low as you comfortably can. Drop to one knee and see what variety of perspectives you can capture with your Canon 6D. Even though you’re just a couple of feet lower than usual, you’ll see the world in a whole different light.
Once you’re comfortable doing that, try getting even lower on the ground. Regardless of how tall your animal subject might be, viewing those subjects from a lower angle is a total gamechanger. You’ll see wildlife in ways you never thought of before. On top of that, people who view the final photograph will be mesmerised by your unique image!
When you’re that low to the ground, you can also point your camera lens downwards. There are loads of little creatures that you can capture with your camera. Ants, worms, and other insects all make for amazing macro photographs! These creatures, which most people never get to see up close, can turn into such fantastic images if you capture them correctly.
Yes, you’re going to get messy. But that’s just a part of the fun when it comes to wildlife photography. So, either embrace the mess or come dressed for it next time!
Getting low is great, but don’t limit yourself. Don’t forget to take your Canon 6D and go for the wide shot, too! Find yourself a good vantage point and capture some wide panoramic images of the entire location. Depending on where you are, you might be able to capture beautiful scenes of mountains, forests, or maybe even rivers. And if you’re there at just the right hours of the day, you can take advantage of the Golden Hour and use up that softer, redder light that comes off the sun at just the right moment.
Of course, you’re here to do wildlife photography, not just capture some beautiful landscape photos. So, frame your image in such a way that you also capture some wildlife in it. Imagine capturing a picture of a cow grazing on an open field at dusk, or a lone bird sitting on a branch out in the distance. The possibilities are endless when it comes to photographing wildlife!
Oh, and here’s a bonus tip: try to capture movement. A wide shot is beautiful, but it’ll genuinely come to life if you capture movement in the form of flowing water (like at a river) or an animal running across the frame. You can capture so much emotion when you photograph movement. For example, an animal running because something else is chasing it, that captures fear. Or two creatures chasing each other for fun will add a more playful vibe to your photograph.
This phrase is going to sound like a broken record, but it’s still true: the possibilities are endless when it comes to wildlife photography.
The beauty of doing wildlife photography with the Canon 6D is that you can get results when you push its limits. For instance, the previous tip about getting wide shots. Doing that with your Canon 6D is bound to give you great results because of how the camera captures all the colours of nature so beautifully. But try to do the complete opposite. Instead of going wide, get up close and personal with your animal subject.
Of course, you might not want to try this with a dangerous animal subject. After all, you don’t want to get eaten alive now, do you?
But if you’re interacting with a calm animal, then, by all means, bring the lens much closer than you usually would. The high resolution on the Canon 6D will help you capture some of the finer details of the animal that you wouldn’t get any other way.
Again, that’s why wildlife photography is so rewarding for both the photographer and the viewer. It’s because you are capturing things that most people never get to see. When you’re taking a close-up shot of, let’s say, a cow, you’ll be able to see all the fine lines and the textures that aren’t noticeable from afar.
Just by looking at your photos and all the detail in it, your viewers will be able to put themselves in your shoes. They’ll imagine themselves being in front of that beautiful creature, just as you were when you took the photo.
Get To Know Your Canon 6D
Now that we’ve talked about the wildlife let’s take a step back. This tip will sound super obvious to most people. At the same time, this is probably one of the most overlooked photography tactics. The tip? Get to know your Canon 6D inside and out.
That’s right. Sit down and study your camera. Most photographers would scoff at this because they think they’re above it. But it’s safe to bet that there are at least one or two things that even a veteran photographer might not know about their own Canon 6D.
You see, when you know your gear very well when you are highly familiar with it, it becomes an extension of your body. Using it is effortless, as your hands will know precisely how to handle the camera and change settings as needed. That means no fumbling with the camera and missing out on a great photo opportunity just because you don’t know which button to press.
But how does a photographer know their camera thoroughly? Don’t they just pick it up and take photos with it? Well, not exactly. The most obvious way would be to sit down and flip the user manual open. Read it cover to cover, and know what the Canon 6D can or can’t do.
But that’s a pretty dull way to do things. To keep things interesting, you could try and check out Youtube videos about the 6D. The kind of videos that offer you camera tips and tricks will be beneficial.
Got Nothing? Be Patient!
Get low. Get wide. Get close. But what if you can’t get any good pictures with your Canon 6D because the wildlife simply isn’t there? Well, you’ve got to be patient. Remember what this article mentioned earlier: you have very little control when you’re out in the wild with your camera.
Mother Nature calls the shots because right now, you’re in her ‘studio’. So, when it comes to wildlife photography, you’ll have to be very, very patient. One of the most obvious challenges in this regard is the lighting. If you’re out at high noon, the lighting may be very harsh and too bright. Still, if dark clouds form above, you’ll suddenly get a ‘noir’ vibe in your photos, whether you like it or not. The point here is that the environment decides what it wants to do, not you.
The same is true with your animal subjects. Different animals offer varying degrees of difficulty when trying to photograph them. Birds, for example, are high up and spook easily. So, you’ll have to sit in one spot quietly and wait for them. Other animals are excessively friend and will approach you immediately. The behaviours of these animal subjects vary greatly.
Again, and this can’t be stressed enough, wildlife photography is one of the most challenging photography genres one can do. But with the right tips (like the five above), the right gear (like the Canon 6D), and a load of patience, you’ll find it to be the most rewarding type of photography you could ever do.