So you’ve booked your dream vacation– an African safari, Australian walkabout, or Antarctic expedition– or maybe you’re touring our national parks or even just heading to the beach with the kids. You’ll want to savor the experience and preserve the memories by taking the best possible wildlife photos. Here’s how.

Get close.
Obviously, there may be obstacles to getting up close and personal with your subject, especially if your subject is a protected species and/or has sharp teeth! But if you minimize your distance and invest in a decent zoom lens, you’ll be able to fill your frame with beautiful wildlife closeups.


Aim high and get low.
The best way to get a unique, provocative shot is to change your perspective. Kneel or lay on the ground & consider using whatever grass or foliage is nearby to frame your shot. If you get the opportunity to take a hot-air balloon, bush plane, or helicopter ride, bring your camera—just don’t drop it!


Be late to bed and early to rise.
There is something special about photography that’s done at dawn or dusk. Not only is this the time of day that most wildlife is active, the quality of light often imparts a sense of mystery and ephemeral beauty that you just can’t get with the harsher shadows of full daylight.


Hold still.
For blur-free photos and the sharpest focus, use this technique: stabilize your arms on a stationary object, like a wall, the ground, or a car, or tuck them in close to your body to minimize movement. A tripod is superior, of course, but with prohibitive baggage allowances this isn’t always practical.


Don’t be afraid to edit.
There’s no shame in editing your photos a bit when you get back. Using a free photo editing software, such as Picasa, you can easily crop, sharpen, or adjust the exposure of your pictures, bringing them to the next level of awesomeness.


Exhibit only the best.
Resist the urge to develop every last one of your memory card’s 2,048 photos and foist the stack on every acquaintance you encounter post-vacation. Select the best 10% and upload them to your Facebook account or a photo website such as Flickr. Consider publishing the very best in your own professionally-printed coffee table book.


What are your wildlife photography tips and secrets? Share them by posting a comment below or on our Facebook page!