Photo by Leila Boujnane / Unsplash License

Photographing wildlife can be an exciting and rewarding experience. While many photographers travel to far-off destinations to capture wildlife, there is also great potential in photographing wildlife right in your own backyard.

Even if you don’t live in a particularly wildlife-rich area, you may be surprised at the opportunities that exist in your own backyard. With a little patience and the right approach, you can capture amazing wildlife photos without the need for extensive travel.

A few years ago, I never considered photographing wildlife on my own property. However, after observing the wide variety of animals that visited my backyard over the past few years, I realized the potential for capturing incredible shots right at home. I’ve seen deer, foxes, raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, toads, snapping turtles, snakes, pheasants, and many species of birds.

Here are ten tips to help you improve your backyard wildlife photography:

1. Be Patient (and Quiet)

Photographing wildlife requires a lot of patience. You’ll need to wait for the right moment to capture the animals in the perfect position. This is true whether you’re in a distant location or in your own backyard. Additionally, it’s essential to be quiet and avoid making sudden noises that could startle the wildlife.

2. Attract Wildlife with Food

The best way to attract wildlife to your backyard is by providing food. The type of food you use will depend on the species you want to attract. Consider using meat, nuts and seeds, or worms. Additionally, creating pools of water can be especially enticing for birds.

However, it’s important to feed wildlife carefully and sparingly. You don’t want them to become dependent on you for their food.

3. Use the Right Gear

In order to capture high-quality wildlife photos, it’s important to have the right gear. Here are some essential items:


Using a blind allows you to hide from the animals and capture shots without being noticed. You can purchase hunting or photography blinds at an affordable price. Alternatively, you can open a window and shoot from inside the house to avoid disturbing the wildlife.

Telephoto Lens

Investing in a telephoto lens is crucial for wildlife photography. The specific lens you’ll need depends on factors such as the wildlife you’re photographing and your camera type (full frame vs. crop sensor). Generally, a lens in the range of 200mm to 400mm is recommended. More reach is useful for photographing birds and other small animals.


Using a tripod helps stabilize your camera and ensures sharp, steady photos. It’s especially useful during the long waiting periods that wildlife photography often requires. A tripod can also help relieve the strain of holding a heavy camera and lens for an extended period.

Remote Shutter Release

A remote shutter release allows you to trigger your camera from a distance. This can be useful if you want to capture shots in a specific area without being seen. Setting up food as bait can help attract wildlife to the exact spot you want to photograph.

4. Use a Fast Shutter Speed

When photographing wildlife, it’s important to use a fast shutter speed to freeze action and prevent blurry photos. Animals can move or take off at any moment, so a fast shutter speed is necessary to capture sharp images. A shutter speed between 1/100th and 1/1000th of a second is typically recommended.

If you’re not shooting in manual mode, you can use aperture priority mode and set the camera to the widest aperture (smallest f-stop number) to achieve a fast shutter speed.

5. Consider the Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in photography, including wildlife photography. Backyard wildlife often looks best in warm, golden light during the hours after sunrise and before sunset. Early morning hours can be especially rewarding as many animals are more active at this time.

6. Pay Attention to the Background

An important consideration when photographing in your backyard is the background of your photos. Ensure that unsightly objects such as houses, cars, or telephone lines are not visible in the frame. Position yourself to photograph from an angle that offers a natural and appealing background.

Photographing wildlife in your backyard can provide a rewarding creative outlet. By following these tips, especially practicing patience, you can capture stunning photos without venturing far from home.