How to improve your British wildlife photography

Pro photographer Andy Parkinson explains how he got this cute rabbit photograph and shares his top tips for getting the perfect shot.

Rabbit kitten by Andy Parkinson

Rabbits are probably the most conspicuous and familiar British mammals and yet, due to their reputation as non-native pests, they are largely overlooked as photographic subjects.

This aside, the rabbit is a highly adaptable and charismatic creature with a fascinating array of behaviours, and its abundance makes it an ideal subject for aspiring photographers.

With acute eyesight and hearing, as well as a blistering turn of speed the adults can be surprisingly tricky to photograph, but in early spring, the emergence of kittens makes achieving nice images a lot easier.
Once you have found a suitable warren, take some time to watch from a distance. Work out where and at what time the kittens usually emerge and how far they range from the burrow entrance.
When you are ready, get into position at least one hour before they normally appear and lie down with your camera resting on a rucksack, covering both with something green.
Make sure you are at least several metres downwind from the burrow entrance. Over time, and as the rabbits begin to accept your presence, this distance can be discretely shortened.
Top wildlife photography tips
  • Don’t be a species snob
    I would rather take a great shot of a common subject than a mediocre shot of something unusual. Mallards, gulls, Canada geese and mute swans are all classic examples of subjects that are overlooked by photographers who, for whatever reason, consider them to be too dull or familiar.
  • Blend in
    Where possible, always try to photograph your subject from eye level. This will not only make the animal feel more at ease, as you will be less recognisable as a human, it will also throw the background out of focus, giving the final image greater impact and a more intimate feel. Wearing neutral colours will also help you to blend in and cause less alarm.
  • Work with confiding subjects
    Working with species that are familiar with people is an ideal way to hone your skills. Local ponds and reservoirs, city parks and gardens are all ideal locations, as the animals and birds that can be found here will be more comfortable with, and accepting of, the presence of people, so you can concentrate on getting the shot.
To enjoy more of Andy's spectacular wildlife photography, click here to visit his website or here to enjoy our special gallery (coming soon - watch this space!).


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