How To Photograph Bears

Bears are mighty and majestic creatures that have a reputation for being aggressive.

How To Photograph Bears

The truth is that bears have a softer side that is rarely seen. One of the best ways of capturing the tender nature of certain bears is through photography.

Yet, photographing bears can be incredibly difficult. These animals are hard to find, often spotted in Alaska. Not to mention, this hobby could become dangerous if you get too close. 

If you are interested in photographing bears, follow these top tips:

1. Conduct Research

Before you can start snapping sensational photos, you must do your research. Wildlife photographers need to understand their subjects.

For instance, you can learn about the behavior of these bears. This will not only help you to better appreciate the creature that you are photographing but also might help you to take better pictures.

This is because you can better find their location. 

In addition, you may be able to snap a picture of a bear doing a unique action. You could also choose to focus your picture on some of the most distinctive features of a bear species. 

2. Consider The Location

After you have conducted appropriate research into brown bears or whatever species you want to capture, you can start looking for them.

Western Canada and Alaska are two of the best places to find bears. 

Once you have selected the perfect site for your bear photographs, you can get into position. Be sure to keep your distance when taking photos to guarantee your protection.

You should try to find a well-covered spot that will keep you unnoticed.

3. Turn Off The Flash And Noise

It’s best to refrain from using the flash setting on your camera when taking a picture of a bear.

This flash could startle and irritate the creature. Not only could this cause the bear to flee, but the creature could also become angry. 

Likewise, we recommend turning off your sound. The click of the camera may have a similar effect as the flash setting.

4. Use A Zoom Lens

To improve your wildlife photography, you should invest in a zoom lens. This tool will allow you to take images at a range of different focal points. Specifically, you will want a 300mm lens.

This way, you can better capture the behavior of a bear.

This lens will enable you to take a high-quality picture of a bear from a long distance. As a result, you won’t have to get too close to the bear. 

Just make sure that you stabilize the camera when using a zoom lens. This is because the bear photograph could be unfocused. 

5. Wear The Correct Clothing

For extensive shots, you must wear the correct clothing. You should pick comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. After all, you will likely be taking photos in rural environments. 

Plus, you should buy clothing that is suitable for the weather. For example, you may want to invest in waterproof clothing so that you are better suited for wet weather or wading through damp environments.

Alaska’s weather can be quite tumultuous, making this waterproof clothing essential. You may also want waterproof protective equipment for your camera. 

It’s also a good idea to wear earthy tones (such as brown or green) so that you better blend into your surroundings.

6. Utilize A Tripod

Tripods are an essential tool for wildlife photographers. These three-legged tools are made to provide extra stability when taking a photo. Plus, tripods are an ideal piece of kit for long photo shoots. 

Consequently, we suggest that you invest in a tripod when taking pictures of a bear.

This way, you can wait until you get the perfect shot. For a more convenient option, you may want to opt for a monopod. These monopods tend to be lighter and more convenient. 

7. Plan An Exit Strategy

Safety should be your main priority when attempting to get a fantastic photo of a bear.

Though bears are not typically violent unless they have been aggravated, you still must take safety precautions when getting close to a bear.

To keep yourself safe, you should always prepare an exit strategy. This way, you can flee if things become too dangerous. You should be ready to leave quickly if necessary. 

For safety, it is advised that you enlist the aid of a guide. These guides will have more knowledge regarding the behavior of these bears, including their locations.

Additionally, a guide will aid with keeping you safe. 

8. Find The Right Light

Lastly, lighting is one of the key differences that will separate a professional-looking photo from a more standard picture. Though natural lighting is often ideal, it can also be rather harsh.

This is because the harsh light can cause sharp shadows, which can detract from the quality of your bear photographs.

Many professional photographers will opt for shooting during the magic hours for wildlife photography. Also known as the golden hour, this refers to the period of perfect lighting for photography.

This occurs following sunset and right before sunrise.

It’s worth bearing in mind that waiting for the right lighting combined with the difficulty of locating bears can make this a time-consuming process. You may have to attempt taking these photos on different days.

Final Thoughts

Photography will allow you to capture the beauty of wild bears. However, it is essential to follow these top tips if you want to safely and comfortably take phenomenal photos of bears.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Look A Black Bear In The Eyes?

No, you should not look a bear in its eyes. This is because the bear will interpret this as a sign of aggression. As a result, a black bear might attack you if you make eye contact with it. 

What Lens Should You Use To Photograph A Bear?

As mentioned, a zoom lens is often ideal for photographing a bear. Alternatively, you can use a telephoto lens for this photography. This type of lens has a longer focal length, making it ideal for detailed long-distance shots.

Laura McNeill
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