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Tips on Zoo Photography: It’s a Jungle Out There!

Megan Etzel

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Zoo hippo photo

Summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the zoo!

Create your own safari adventure with a few of these tips and tricks for great zoo photos:

1. Come prepared

Map out your itinerary so you don’t waste time figuring out where to go. Think about which animals you really want to see, and consider asking a zookeeper when they’re most active–feeding schedules are often available to the public. Remember to respect other visitors and to follow the rules; some zoos have strict rules regarding photography to minimize distraction.

2. Get up close and personal

Gorillas zoo photo

Zoos often place animals in their natural habitats, so photograph them that way, too! Use a telephoto lens to zoom in on your subject to keep cages and fences out of your shot. Some animals are protected by glass, which can prove to be a bit more tricky. Avoid using flash, and adjust your angle in order to eliminate glare.

3. Get on their level

Want your pictures to stand out? Stoop down and capture the animals at ground or eye level. This will add intimacy and vivacity to your photos, leaving viewers with a sense of closeness–as though they’re with the animals in the wild.

4. Be patient

Polar Bear

You can try to flirt with the animals all you want, but some are just more lively than others. Don’t be discouraged if you catch your subject in slumber, and always be ready for action. A good idea is to leave your camera on continuous shooting mode. This will allow you to take multiple photos within seconds, so you don’t miss a thing!

5. Share your experience

Amaze your friends and family with an Animoto video! Give them a personal tour of the zoo by compiling your photos and videos in chronological order and adding text. Our favorite styles for this type of event are “Earth” and “Water.” Once you’re done, email the link or post it to your Facebook wall.

Interested in more summer photography tips? Take a look at pro photographer Tamara Lackey’s tips on taking great family vacation photos, or get started making your own summer video!