Animals In Captivity – Photography Tips and Tricks

Welcome back readers!

A very shy giraffe! (Canon 650D, 1/320 sec. f/6.3 115mm.)

I’m back again to tell about my trip to London Zoo and my photography tips and tricks when photographing animals. I was very excited to visit, to look at all the animals and photograph them too! Trouble is, I forgot that they aren’t always as co-operative as humans when it comes to having their photo’ taken – they don’t always stay still!

I realised at the zoo how alike animals and humans really are, even the ones in captivity. They have emotions, they have needs and they also may not want to be constantly photographed, but they usually are! This post will give you a few tips and tricks on how to properly photograph animals in captivity. It was part of my second year coursework at university but I loved this post so much I had to share it. I hope you find it enjoyable and helpful too!


“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery!”Β – Charles Darwin.

Within the enclosures the animals are able to roam freely which isn’t always the easiest thing when you’re trying to take a good photo’ of them. The tigers were the first animals I went to as it was very close to feeding time, this was an excellent decision as beforehand half the tigers were either sat inside or moving around. Once the keepers brought out their food they were drawn to the main enclosure section, staying still to eat.




Getting to know the penguins. (Canon 650D, 1/2000 sec. f/5.6 275mm.)
Don’t disturb them!

You can get as close to the enclosure fences as you wish as long as you do not disturb the animals andΒ scare them off. You won’t get any photographs that way! I did just this, pointing my camera through the fence holes and although you can see the fence slightly in certain photo’s I do not think that this is at a detriment to the quality. It just makes it more realistic and puts you in the moment.

Getting in the right position is essential, for example, when I went to look at the penguins I stood in a variety of different places whilst shooting. The different positions helped me as the penguins were constantly moving in and out of the water and onto the bank. If I had sat in one position and then left I wouldn’t have gotten the photo’s. I believe it’s important to put yourself in the animal’s shoes. Don’t be afraid to go down to their level and see things from their perspective.

‘Just Keep Swimming’
(Canon 650D, 1/1600 sec. f/5.6 200mm.)

Whether you choose to stick to one position or move and shoot from several different ones, the importance is ensuring you capture the animals in their natural state. There is no point waiting all that time for one photograph to realise that the photo’ itself is completely unrealistic, plus there are plenty of animals so if one is being particularly difficult – use another.

As Charles Darwin said, animals are the same as me and you and as American photographer Ansel Adams once said,

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” – Ansel Adams.


Throughout my visit I was able to capture so many photographs which I am extremely proud of. As soon as I recognised the importance of patience, I worked out how to get the most from the shoot. Even though several of my photos are blurry from the constant movements, I have so many which I am so pleased with.

Don’t worry, although you may look silly chasing a tiger around the end results are worth it!

Here are some handy little tips for you:
  • Patience is everything: Animals aren’t always going to co-operate with your shoot, they will move when you don’t want them to or they won’t move when you do. Be patient, you will get the photographs if you wait.

    Bye bye! (Canon 650D, 1/400 sec. f/5.6 300mm.)
  • Barriers:Β Animals in captivity are in enclosures, whether it be cages, walls or glass there is some form of barrier. This doesn’t always have to stop you as you can work around it like I did, position your camera to shoot through the gaps in the fences, as long as you don’t disturb the animals you can always find a way for the perfect shot!

Thank you for visiting and reading about another adventure of mine! If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment!

See you soon!

All photographs shown in this blog post are my own.

This post was a part of my Second Year University Coursework.


  1. London Zoo is one of my favourite days out in the city, even after living here 5 years! Those penguins, the meerkats and the otters are my fave! x

    1. Imogen Chloe says:

      Ahhhh yes, they’re just so cute aren’t they? Love watching the penguins! x

      1. Completely. And I also like the warthogs! β™₯ x #WeirdCute

  2. Macey Gloria says:

    Finally getting a chance to see your lovely new site!! Looks so fresh & clean; I love it πŸ™‚ I haven’t taken photos at the zoo in over a year now, and it certainly was tricky! Got some amazing shots of giraffes though as we were allowed to feed them, truly incredible x

    1. Imogen Chloe says:

      That means the world, thank you – a lot of stress and tears went into it haha! x

      Oh wow! My parents had an experience like that and I was extremely jealous – that must have been an amazing experience? x

      1. Macey Gloria says:

        It really was! They are gorgeous, gentle creatures x

  3. whatrachdidnext says:

    Some ace shots! Animals are so hard to photograph. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Love the giraffe πŸ¦’

    1. Imogen Chloe says:

      Ahh thank you so much! Haha, he’s a secret poser isn’t he?

  4. Smashing post, love photographing animals, lots of patience needed but sometimes it is easier than getting the kids to sit still! DerbyshireDuckie

    1. Imogen Chloe says:

      Thank you! Haha, I’m sure when I come to have children I will experience this too, it’s probably easiest at feeding time for both parties though as at least that way they’re sat still!

  5. […] Read my London Zoo post to get photography tips on ‘Animals in Captivity’ here. […]

  6. Thank you for the tips! And I’ve been browsing your site and want to give you some thumbs up πŸ™‚

    1. Imogen Chloe says:

      You’re welcome, thank you for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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