Wildlife photography is challenging whether you are using a smartphone or other mobile device. Smartphone cameras have come light years away from their starting point and their quality is now exceptional.  Remember to set your time/date stamp when using the WWL App.   As a subject, wildlife is challenging to capture in images because it is elusive.  One small movement or sound can ruin the shot and it make take hours to capture it again.

Too Small in the Frame?

Generally speaking, it’s nearly impossible to get close to wildlife, especially if you are following the Wildlife Code of Conduct.   The key is to remember that timing, patience and concentration bring the results you want.  The more you know about your subject’s habits, habitat, what it eats and social behaviors will help you determine how and where to photograph.

Out of Focus?

You have to select the AF (auto focus) point yourself. Don’t let the camera automatically do it because it’ll hone in on the center of the frame, even if your subject isn’t in the center. Look for an option like “single-point AF” or “Flexible-spot AF”.

Select the point that’s on the subject’s head and half-press the shutter release to focus your lens. If it’s moving, use “Continuous AF mode” to refocus between shots.

Blurry Wildlife Shots?

Using a tripod or monopod to keep the camera steady can be a great asset, especially for long lenses. This is true for mobile devices and even GoPros.  You also need to have a fast shutter speed that can freeze any movement. If you’re unable to get the shutter speed high enough, you can either push the sensitivity setting up a little or just wait until the subject is still and completely avoid shooting when it’s moving.  Remember that using a high sensitivity setting will cause a bit of noise. Shoot either in shutter priority or manual exposure mode so that you can control the shutter speed yourself.

If you are using a smart phone, look for a tree or a rock that can keep you steady as you shoot your photos.  Even leaning close to a family member or friend can allow you the steadiness to keep clicking good shots.

Don’t rely on Smartphone auto mode

Yes, tapping on where you want the phone to focus on will give you a sharper focus on the subject. However, you can improve the overall quality of your images by tweaking the other aspects in an image. Although different phones have different settings, most should be able to let you control the focus, exposure, white balance and ISO.

The higher the resolution of your photo, the better your quality will be. When taking images with a smartphone camera, try to go as close as possible to the subject rather than zooming in when you take a shot. You will get better-resolution photos cropped, than zoomed in.

Use a tripod or monopod

Your phone camera’s stabilizing function can only do so much and if you don’t want a blurred image, consider using tripods and monopods.

Be careful with flash

The camera flash you have on your phone is almost always too harsh and rarely helpful. Instead try increasing your camera’s exposure and ISO levels.

Learn to use your smartphone’s camera software

You’d be surprised at just what your smartphone camera can do.  Maybe you’re familiar with some of the basic operations, like switching between the camera and video modes, or turning your flash on and off or putting it on auto. Yet your camera probably has several other options like scenemodes, panorama, bokeh and HDR.

Explore your iPhone or Andorid device’s camera. It has plenty of memory for photos, so you can play with the different features, effects and settings and snap lots of photos.  Your goal is to know your way around the camera so that you can snap photos easefully and won’t miss those rare moments when you can catch wildlife in their environment.