Install Theme

brookshaw photography


Atara, a North Chinese Leopard from WHF Big Cat Sanctuary. Striking cat.

Thought I would try this one in sepia…


Wildlife Photography 201 - Technical Tips
Following on from my posts about Zoo Photography here and composition tips here, I have a few technical tips for photographing wildlife.
Most of these actually apply to zoos, general wildlife, pet or portrait photography too…
  • Know your camera - you need to be able to change settings very quickly and without looking.
  • Shoot RAW as it’s more forgiving and holds more detail.
  • I personally use AV mode and then adjust ISO to try and achieve at least 1/400 shutter speed - keep checking and adjusting. Don’t be afraid to use a high ISO to achieve the shutter speed you need.
  • I personally go for the widest aperture I can so that I get pleasing backgrounds - I’m a sucker for f/2.8! Depending on your subject though, you may want to go a bit narrower - you may want a whole beak in focus and not just the eyes, for example.
  • I generally use spot focusing and move the the focus point or ‘focus and recompose’ - only works on stationary animals though!
  • Use the best AF mode for the circumstances - single focus or servo when shooting moving subjects.
  • Same for metering mode - adjust for the circumstances. Take time to learn the effect of metering mode.
  • Try to pick your moment when shooting - you might get lucky with high-speed continuous shooting but you’ll have a lot of image filtering to do later on!
  • Use exposure compensation appropriately to handle dark fur.
  • Use a tripod or monopod if it suits you - especially with heavier lenses. I personally don’t as I like a bit more freedom to move around.
  • Like most outdoor photography, the best light is in the morning or later in the day.
  • Overcast days are often best too as the clouds act as a diffuser.
  • Avoid flash for the animal’s sake.
Photos by Gary

You can find me here: [website | tumblr | 500px | Facebook | Facebook Wildlife | Flickr] 

A few more of the tips I’ve published to Frogman’s Light School.

I hope you find some useful in your photography…



Composing Wildlife Photography 101
Following on from my post about Zoo Photography Tips, here are a few composition tips for photographing zoo animals.
Most of these actually apply to general wildlife, pet or portrait photography too…
  • I treat every shot as a professional portrait - I’m always looking for the perfect portrait.
  • It’s (usually) all in the eyes - make sure the eyes are 100% in focus and everything else follows…
  • But you don’t always have to have great eye contact…profiles look great and so do shots of animals daydreaming.
  • Use the ‘rule of thirds’ to achieve more interesting shots.
  • It’s generally better to be too wide and crop than too close…but close is also good sometimes!
  • Zoo’s often force a close shot because of the environment but go wider when the environment allows it.
  • Avoid distracting objects e.g. fences, people, etc. whenever possible - always think about the background. You want them to look like they do in the wild. Sadly they aren’t, but that’s a whole other debate…
  • Get down to their level to get a good point of view - be prepared to get your knees dirty!
  • Try to anticipate the animal’s movement and get a vision of what shot you want to achieve
Photos by Gary

You can find me here: [website | tumblr | 500px | Facebook | Facebook Wildlife | Flickr] 

A few more tips for you…get out there and give them a try! Gary.


My all-time favourite elephants shot!

Two young elephants playing at Chester Zoo…

It’s World Elephant Day today (12th August) so it’s seems appropriate to reblog my most popular elephant photograph…

This was a real ‘right place, right time’ moment!

It always makes me smile as it looks like one of them is waving at me… :-)


Zoo Photography
I spend a lot of time taking photos in zoos and other animal sanctuaries. I’m lucky enough to live near Chester Zoo, one of the best zoos in the world, so I visit regularly. In fact, Chester Zoo is where I first honed my photography skills with a DSLR camera before tackling weddings and portraits.
Zoos present different challenges from regular wildlife photography…glass, fences, distracting objects…and other people!
Here are a few of tips for working in a zoo environment…
  • Use a lens hood whenever possible so you can safely position your lens right up to the glass or a fence. It will protect your lens and also reduce reflection in glass.
  • If you can’t get right up to the fence, use centre spot focusing and ‘hunt’ with the focus until you can see your subject is right in the middle of the fence ‘haze’.
  • For best results with fences, use a telephoto lens at a longer length, get as close as you can to the fence and have the subject further away.
  • Wear dark clothes to reduce your reflection in glass.
  • Have a cloth handy for wiping glass.
  • Know your subject! Speak to keepers, etc. to find out the best times of the day to see the animal or any habits they may have.
  • I personally avoid feeding times but at least you know the animal will be out then so it’s useful to know when they are.
  • Watch the animal’s behaviour and anticipate their movements.
  • You MUST be patient and wait for your subject. Rushing around a zoo from one enclosure to the next will limit your golden opportunities. You may get lucky but you need to increase your chances with time…
  • If you are going to photograph a particular animal then focus on that animal (pardon the pun!) - even if you have to wait hours…
  • But also know when to walk away. If the animals just aren’t engaging or you already have a killer shot then move on!
  • Always visit when the zoos are less busy!
  • Never put your camera away until you leave…my most popular photo ever was taken as I was on my way out after a very unsuccessful visit!
Above all, like most photography, practice, practice, practice!
Good luck.
Photos by Gary.

You can find me here: [website | tumblr | 500px | Facebook | Facebook Wildlife | Flickr] 

My first article on Zoo photography tips. Hope you find it useful…



Hi, my name is Gary Brookshaw and I’m a part-time wedding and portrait photographer…who also loves wildlife photography! By day, I work as a Product Director for a large international software company and I get involved in all aspects of software design, development and sales.
My photography started as a hobby and then I slowly moved into professional Wedding and Portrait photography. But, for me, wildlife photography is how I relax - it’s about the only time I switch off! I’m desperate to go on a real photographic safari but that’s not possible right now with a young family and busy job!
I was thrilled to be invited to be a guest contributor to Frogman’s Light School and hopefully I can pass on some good tips…
Camera: Canon 7D
Lenses: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM | Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM | Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM | Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | Canon EF Mark III 1.4x Extender
Software: Apple Aperture (it’s a shame Apple have stopped developing it…I guess I’ll have to give Lightroom another try!) | Pixelmator (instead of Photoshop) | Google Nik Collection
You can find me here: [website | tumblr | 500px | Facebook | Facebook Wildlife | Flickr] 
I’ll be using #brookshawphotos to tag all my posts.

Hi, I’ve been asked to be a guest contributor on The Frogman’s Light School blog. I’ll be posting some tips on wildlife and zoo photography this week…hope you find them useful!


It’s World Lion Day today (10th August).

This is Milo, the stunning Barbary Lion from Port Lympne Wild Animal Park.

This subspecies of lion is EXTINCT IN THE WILD.

I spent a few hours just watching him. He’s a very engaging cat.

It was very moving to be in his presence knowing his subspecies will probably disappear soon…

Apparently it’s World Cat Day today…soooo, here’s one of mine!

His name is Mr. Pusskins! :-)

What a fabulous drawing of my giraffe photograph by artist Natasha Griffiths!

Check out her Facebook page for more amazing work:

I’m really impressed!

One of the stunning Sumatran Tiger cubs at Chester Zoo - about 14 months old here…

An inquisitive look from one of the cheetah cubs at Chester Zoo…

How cute is this baby warthog?!

There are five of them at Chester Zoo right now. Very playful.

It’s Global Tiger Day today (29th July) so here’s an old favourite from a few years back…

Mother and Cub in perfect harmony…

These are Sumatran Tigers at Chester Zoo. There are less than 400 of this species in the wild. Chester Zoo have raised 4 cubs over the past 3 years.

At current rates, ALL tiger species living in the wild could be extinct within 5 years! Crazy.

Really sorry to hear that Ares, the stunning jaguar from WHF Big Cat Sanctuary, passed away last Friday… :-(

A truly magnificent cat who will be sorely missed.

Thrilled to reach my first 1,000 followers today after a few weeks of posting…thank you!

Big chimp kiss for you all! ;-)