How to Photograph: Elephants

Matt Armstrong All Authors, Matt Leave a Comment

Elephants. What a wonderful subject they can be to photograph. Wonderful indeed, but photographing these magnificent beats can be, at times, quite challenging.

One of the reasons for this, is their sheer size. In an area such as the Sabi Sands or South Luangwa where close encounters are common place, or even from a hide. It becomes very difficult to fit the whole animal into the frame. However, this can be a great opportunity. If you know how to make the most of it.

I want you to think about an elephant, what stands out in your mind?

For me there are four main aspects of this animal that make it unique:

1.The Ears

2.The Trunk

3.The Tusks

4.The skin

Each with its own unique textures and patterns. Each, that when photographed correctly can make for brilliant subjects all by themselves. So, next time you find yourself close to one of these behemoths, break him/her down into individual compartments, ears, trunk, tusks and skin and try and turn each individual part into a subject of its own, making sure that your viewer will know that it is in fact an elephant that you are portraying. Here are a few examples.

When the time comes that you are viewing an elephant from a distance where you are able to fit the whole animal into your frame. Think about the surroundings in which you find it. How can incorporate that with in the scene?

Can you use the surroundings to make the world larges land animal seem tiny?

Or find away to extenuate its size?

One of the many great things about elephants is that they are usually doing something, eating, drinking, dustbathing, mud bathing or even playing. There behaviour provides wonderful opportunities to capture great images. Again, when observing these animals doing any of the above, think to yourself.

Can I fit the whole animal into the frame.

Yes. How can I incorporate its behaviour into my shot?

If the answer is No. Then go in.

This works especially well when the animal is feeding or drinking. Again, here are a few examples.

I hope these few simple tips help you the next time you are in the field and gives you some fresh ideas and a slightly different perspective on how you can captures these magnificent animals.

Cheers for now,


About the Author

Matt Armstrong

A deep love of nature and the great expanse of the wilderness drew me to Africa at a young age and has captivated me ever since. I truly believe that my experience and passion will ensure that you to leave your Wild Eye safari with images you can be proud of and memories that will last a life time.

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