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How to Photograph Wildlife in Your Backyard

How to Photograph Wildlife in Your Backyard

Have you been wanting to take up wildlife photography? You don’t have to book an African safari to capture great wildlife images. Chances are, you can photograph wildlife from the comfort of your own home in your own backyard. Here are some tips for shooting successful backyard wildlife photography steps away from, or even from inside your air conditioned home.


Be Ready
Wildlife passing through your backyard is usually on the move, and simply passing through. You won’t have time to dig through your camera bag in search of the right lens or memory card. It’s best to have your camera and telephoto lens from already mounted on a tripod ahead of time. This will allow you to simply grab the entire setup and start shooting once you have spotted the backyard wildlife.

Do Not Disturb
Your house makes the perfect hunting blind to hide yourself from the backyard wildlife. You can photograph from inside so you won’t disturb or spook the animals. The best way to photograph backyard wildlife from inside is to shoot through an open window or door. Shooting through glass won’t yield the best results.

Eye Level
Whenever possible, photograph your backyard wildlife at eye level. This will give your backyard wildlife photography a more dramatic look. Shooting at eye level will also cause the animal to stand out more because the background will be further away in the image.


Fast Shutter Speed
Chances are, the backyard wildlife you’re photographing will be moving around quite a bit. Shooting at a fast shutter speed of 1/500th second or higher will help freeze everything from turning heads, flapping wings, to twitching tails.

One of the most common forms of wildlife found in almost every backyard is birds. If you provide food and water, chances are, you will attract a nice variety of birds to your backyard. You can usually capture nice backyard wildlife images of birds by simply sitting quietly by where they are feeding. The most active time for bird activity will be in the morning and near the end of the day. You’ll need a telephoto lens along with a camera from capable of shooting at 4-5 fps or faster to capture great action shots. Shooting at a shutter speed of at least 1/250th second will suffice for most bird species.         


When photographing mammals in your backyard, you will have to be a little more discreet. Most mammals rely on scent and hearing to be on the alert for predators. If it isn’t possible to remain still or downwind, try using a remote shutter release from inside the house to photograph. Using a telephoto lens in the range of 100-400mm will allow for enough options to photograph multiple sizes of backyard wildlife. When photographing nocturnal backyard wildlife like badgers in low light, you may have to resort to using flash or turning on outside lighting on your house. You’ll also need to shoot with the widest aperture setting when shooting in low light settings. When photographing your daytime backyard wildlife like squirrels, lighting won’t be an issues. 


Use these tips to photograph a variety of wildlife in your backyard this summer.

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