Tip #21. Animal portrait shots

Tip #21. Animal portrait shots

As wildlife photographers we normally want to photograph the entire animal or bird with lots of room around the edges of the image to create “breathing room”. A photo where the legs, wings, or other body parts are too close to the edge or cropped off is often less than pleasing. But sometimes you can get an incredible image by zooming in on just a part of the subject like I did with this great egret. Such a photo has the potential from just being a wildlife image to an artistic portrait. To get this shot, I watched this bird fly to and from a particular tree at the Audubon Center in Venice, Florida. After watching him land in the same spot time and time again, I positioned myself to get the back-lit wing feathers. I cluster shot (multiple frames per second) the landing to get the wings in a forward position creating the background/sweep for the bird’s head. I took over a hundred images with this objective in mind to get the photo I had envisioned. At least half the bird does not appear in the image, but it provides a totally different perspective than a full body shot.