Don't Just Look at the Big Picture!

When it comes to photographing wildlife, the smaller details have impact too

by Scott Stulberg

African elephants
© Scott Stulberg
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Most of us love to photograph animals whenever possible because they are such special subjects to capture. One thing that many of us forget to do, however, is to photograph small areas or parts of the animal - since the intimate views have lots of impact too!.

We are so mesmerized by the animal in our viewfinder that we usually frame the whole animal and start shooting. Most of the time, these turn out to be some of the best photos of our journeys. But don't forget the little details. Focusing on smaller sections of the animals can make a pretty profound photograph too.

photographing Kenya
© Scott Stulberg
All Rights Reserved
On my recent trip to Kenya with fellow BetterPhoto instructor Jim Zuckerman, we all found the most amazing photo opportunities in the world. But many of the group fell into the same thinking that they had to capture the entire animal in the frame.

With your long telephotos, whether in Africa or even at the zoo, don't be afraid to isolate part of your subject. You can capture images that you may have never have thought of before. On the accompanying shots of an elephant, I zoomed in close to show part of her and not the entire body. This can bring out a little more sense of mystery and intrigue and opens up more possibilities for unique photos.

So, when photographing animals, try something different like isolating part of the animal. You might end up with something unusual and very special!

Editor's Note: Learn more about instructor and professional photographer Scott Stulberg and his excellent online courses here at!

Article by Scott Stulberg. To learn more about photography, explore the many online photography and Photoshop classes offered here at