The advantage of backyard wildlife photography is that you can follow the same animals year after year, learning their behaviors and becoming ambassadors for their conservation. You can photograph them anytime, day or night, summer or winter, and you never run out of opportunities. If you miss a moment, you can try again the next day
Learning about native wildlife is the first step and part of the joy of this kind of photography. If you’re photographing birds, listen with your ears; their songs will tell you a lot about their patterns. Don’t forget to take notes on the species you see and their behaviors so you can follow up on your observations later. Doing your research is essential for practicing ethical wildlife photography, and it’ll also improve your images by leaps and bounds.
Tailoring your garden to the wildlife you want to photograph. For example, you can plant trees for shade or purchase native plants, trees, and shrubs to attract specific animals or insects. Many birds enjoy shallow birdbaths or small ponds, while others like nesting boxes or birdhouses. Animals need shelter and hiding spots, and native plants help provide context and tell a larger story. This tip ties back to the importance of doing your research; as you learn about your subject, you can make improvements to your yard and its scenery. Keep it natural and eco-friendly, without any harmful pesticides.
Yes, you’re in your own backyard, but it’s also a habitat for wildlife, so respect their personal space. You also don’t want them to become habituated to your presence, so it might be worth investing in a backyard hide and a telephoto lens. you can always use your house and stay inside; just open up a window or door. Patience is the virtue, take advantage of the time spent waiting to learn more about the animals who share your yard.
Keep your camera and lenses ready at all times—you never know when the perfect opportunity will present itself. Get into the habit of changing your settings on-the-fly, as fast-moving animals often require shorter shutter speeds (1/1000 of a second or faster). Shoot in manual mode (or at least a semi-automatic mode), as you’ll also want to open up your aperture to let in more light and create a blurry background. You can get creative by photographing at different times of the day and in different natural lighting conditions; try backlight or dappled light, or wait for an overcast day for even, diffused lighting.