One of the most important elements to wildlife photography is the background. It is easy to overlook while focusing on the animal, but the right background can be the difference between a good and great photo. Whether it is in focus or completely blurred, it is important that nothing in the background competes with the subject. The background should make sense with the subject and shouldn’t include any distracting elements. After I find wildlife, the next thing I do is start looking for a clean background and try to position myself to place it behind the animal.
By positioning myself downstream of these bears, I was able to create a clean and simple background that complemented the foreground animals.
Like all forms of photography, light is the most critical element to a successful photo. Shooting in the morning and evening will ensure that when you do find wildlife, the light will be easier to work with. In addition to better light, most animals are more active early and late in the day.
A large bull elephant bathed in sunset light. This image would not work as well if it had harsh shadows from mid day light across his face.