Muuuh Nature & Wildlife

Ethics and Tips for Wildlife Photography

Last modified on 2023-07-03. This page is dedicated to nature lovers and wildlife photographers. Written and regularly updated by Karl-Heinz Müller Dipl. Natw. ETH, Biology. With 10 years of experience in wildlife photography, Karl-Heinz shares first-hand, on-site collected observations, photos and videos from his frequent visits to parks in and around Montreal.

In this article, we present our key ethical principles and practical photography tips for wildlife photography. Our goal is to emphasize the significance of ethical practices while offering valuable insights to enhance the quality of your wildlife photography and videography. By following these guidelines, we aim to promote responsible and respectful engagement with the natural world, ensuring that your results capture the essence and beauty of wildlife in an ethical and impactful manner.

Ethics in Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is a captivating and inspiring pursuit that carries with it an ethical obligation towards the subjects being captured. Various photographers hold varying perspectives on what constitutes ethical wildlife photography and the measures necessary to mitigate the photographer's impact on the natural environment and its inhabitants. Presented below are the primary guidelines we adhere to:

  • Avoid Feeding - Refrain from enticing or baiting wild animals with food in order to get closer to them.
  • Avoid Calling - Do not use recorded sounds or calls to attract birds or any other animals.
  • Minimize Stress - If an animal exhibits signs of stress or discomfort, retreat and avoid causing further disturbance.

Tips for Wildlife Photography

Drawing from our experience in wildlife photography, we have compiled a set of valuable tips for capturing photos or recording videos of animals in their natural habitats:

  • Plan Ahead: Prior to your photography expedition, carefully prepare your backpack with all the necessary items for the specific photo or video you intend to capture.
  • Respectful Proximity: Strive to get as close as possible to the animal without causing disturbance or altering its natural behavior. However, exercise caution and avoid getting too close to dangerous animals or hazardous environments.
  • Embrace Unconventional Angles: Experiment with different perspectives by getting down on the ground, kneeling, or lying down for unique low-angle shots. Crawling towards the animal can also help you get closer.
  • Master Exposure: Ensure proper exposure in the field by reviewing the initial shot and making necessary adjustments to capture the desired lighting and detail in your photographs or videos.
  • Level Your Shots: Avoid disappointment later by ensuring your camera is level while recording videos. This prevents the footage from being tilted and enhances the overall viewing experience.
  • Minimize Wasted Shots: Be mindful of the number of shots you take. Capturing fewer, high-quality images saves time and storage space, eliminating the need to sift through unnecessary photos during post-processing.

Busted Myths

  • Mobile phone is more than enough for wildlife photography. Cameras, Lenses and Accessories
  • In wildlife photography, the virtue of patience is overrated.
  • I need to travel to exotic locations to capture impressive wildlife shots.