Getting Great Animal Photos at Edinburgh Zoo

Why travel to faraway places to take great wildlife photos when the Edinburgh Zoo is just a hop, skip and jump away? You will find several animal species from diverse habitats including the jungles of Asia, the deserts of Africa, and the rainforests of Europe in a single place – and you didn’t even have to spend thousands for tickets, accommodations, and food!

You just have to bring your camera gear as well as your knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for photography.

Choose an Optimal Time

You should ideally have general information about the daytime activities of the animals you want to photograph, such as the gorilla’s play time or feeding time.

You will then be able to maximize your time in the zoo since you will be just in time to photograph the animals during their active state – unless, of course, you want images of them at rest (e.g., napping). You can ask the zookeepers, read the brochures, and observe the animals for a time to get a feel of their habits.

Be Ready With Your Gear

Spectators takes photos of a baby giraffe with it's mother at Cape May County Park and Zoo in Cape May Court House, N.J. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/The Press of Atlantic City, Dale Gerhard)

As in the wild, most of the memorable wildlife shots are the animals’ candid moments when their natural instincts take over. In the zoo, you have to be just as ready to capture these candid moments since the best shots are fleeting in nature.

You may never be able to capture a particular scenario or a specific expression since zoo animals cannot be asked to pose upon instructions, unlike humans.

You are well-advised to listen to professional wildlife photographers who have more experience in these matters. For example, you should keep your camera gear as simple as possible since the more complicated the set-up, the more likely you will miss the shot while you’re busy tinkering with it.

You must also keep your camera settings at the ready so as to take the shot as soon as the right one comes along.

Adopt Sensible Measures

Keep in mind that your subjects are behind grids, fences, and glass panels. You must then adopt sensible measures to get good shots including:

• Avoid using flash near animals since it can be distracting or disturbing to them (i.e., zoos will discourage flash, too)
• Take the shot at an angle when photographing animals behind glass enclosure
• Try switching from automatic to manual focus when photographing an animal within a cage (i.e., it will contribute to a better and sharper photo)

Of course, you have to be patient about taking the shots for obvious reasons. You shouldn’t give up when the animals appear to be in no mood for photos, which isn’t surprising considering the number of guests on this mission. You will find that staying for a few minutes more can yield great gains.

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