Skip to main content

Wildlife Photography Guide

From turtles to fishers, the six million acre Adirondack Park is packed full of wildlife. While some species are extremely common, others are much more reclusive. Indeed, you may see an Adirondack moose once in your lifetime, or not at all.

However, it's those special encounters with wildlife that you want to remember and record. If you have a camera and are looking to start taking photos of wildlife in the Adirondacks, or anywhere for that matter, then we've got you covered in our Wildlife Photography Guide.

View a slideshow of photos by wildlife photographer Gerry Lemmo below.

eastern cottontail rabbit

Photo Credit: Gerry Lemmo

Top 10 Wildlife Photography Tips

Wildlife photography is a fun activity, but if you're an amateur photographer, you may not know where to begin. Luckily for you, there are 10 wildlife photography tips that are recommended by most professional photographers.

1. Research your camera. Most cameras, from a point and shoot to the highest end DSLR, will give you some flexibility depending on the type of shot you want to take. If you know its settings, then you'll be ready for most situations.

2. The action can happen fast, so be ready to get your shot. You never know when that bald eagle might fly away.

3. Similarly, be patient! You don't want to scare the target and get a blurry photo.

4. Take lots of photos. It's easier to sort through and find the best ones than to plan out one perfect shot.

5. While the "golden hour," the first and last hour of the day (after sunrise and before sunset), usually provides the best light for photos, many great photos are shot during the day too. It's up to you to decide what you want a photo of, where you should go, and what time you want to aim for.

6. Visit a local park! Start your wildlife photography journey with some easier photos. Try to capture a photo of a butterfly, a goose, or maybe even a deer.

7. Talk to people! Ask questions and someone might have a great tip for you to capture a unique photo.

8. See if you can tell a story with the photo. Ask yourself what is the most interesting part? Do you want a close-up, or do you think the background is an important part of the photo?

9. One of the main questions is whether a photo of a great moment captured imperfectly is better than a perfectly captured but bland image? The answer is up to you!

10. Have fun!

5 Smartphone Photography Tips

As technology has advanced, so too has the camera quality of smartphones. You can compare and contrast smartphone camera pixel quality all day, but in regard to wildlife photography, there are 5 essential tips to follow if you want great photos.

1. Try not to move or shake the smartphone. A sudden movement might frighten an animal. Also, since a smartphone is small and light, it's harder to hold it still. If you crouch, you can lock your elbows and keep your smartphone steady.

2. Although professional cameras have lenses that allow them to zoom in and still produce clear photos, smartphone cameras degrade in quality when you zoom in. As a result, it's best not to zoom, and to be in a close enough position for a clear photo.

3. The highest quality smartphone camera images are shot in places with a lot of light. Areas covered in shadow will produce dark photos, and if you have to use the flash, it will be noticeable in the final product.

4. The greatest advantage of a smartphone camera is its portability. Since you likely have it with you throughout the day, you can get a quick snapshot at a moment's notice. Whether there's a group of turkeys crossing a trail or a bird at a water fountain, you can get a good photo in less than a minute. Know your phone's settings!

5. If you have a smartphone, then it probably has access to many free photo effects apps. Instagram is a popular one, but you should experiment with other free ones and edit your own photos. If it's too dark, try to brighten it up. If there's something you don't want in the photo, crop it out.

Wildlife Photos by Gerry Lemmo

Bull Moose

a bull moose
Photo Credit: Gerry Lemmo


Photo Credit: Gerry Lemmo

White-Tailed Fawn

white tailed fawn
Photo Credit: Gerry Lemmo

Red Fox

red fox
Photo Credit: Gerry Lemmo


Photo Credit: Gerry Lemmo

Red Squirrel

red squirrel
Photo Credit: Gerry Lemmo

River Otter

river otter
Photo Credit: Gerry Lemmo


Photo Credit: Gerry Lemmo

Want more wildlife? Check out our Loon Calls and Photos Guide »

« Back to the Wildlife Guide