Wildlife photography doesn’t necessarily entail braving wilderness in search of elusive species inhabiting remote locations. A carefully landscaped yard can supply an impressive variety of animal life to observe and photograph. In this article, we go through five tips for turning your backyard into a red carpet for local wildlife.
Know your Neighbors
Research, research, research. Find out what wildlife lives in your area. Visit a local nature preserve and/or Audubon Society and talk to the staff. Join a tour led by a knowledgeable guide and ask questions about what species frequent your area. Countless books and websites are dedicated to exactly this subject. You are off to a good start here. Field guides are a great resource for general information and species identification. Refine your focus to more local guides. Study the behavior and life cycles of the animals you are interested in attracting. The more you know about your desired subjects, the easier it will be to create an environment that they will want to visit.
Landscape for Photography
Think of your yard as a big, natural-light studio with multiple sets. Where do you plan on shooting from? Will you scare away your subjects? Would a photo blind help? How else can you improve shooting conditions? Is the light too harsh? Consider adding some trees or shrubs to diffuse light or produce shade. Take a few test photographs and troubleshoot the technical limitations of your yard and what can be done to improve conditions. If your goal is not only to attract wildlife, but also to create compelling photographs, it is imperative to keep this in mind as we move through each of the following steps.