|Story and photography by Charlie Morey/digitalphotography.tv
with Los Angeles Zoo photographers Tad Motoyama and Jamie Pham
Tip #1 - Patience
Tip #2 - Weather
Tip #3 - Timing
Animals are likely to move in almost any direction at almost any time. Learn to anticipate them, so when the perfect picture falls into place, you're ready to press the shutter release button. You'll also find that weekdays are less crowded than weekends, and moving around to get the best angle is much easier if you aren't caught in a shoulder-to-shoulder mob.
Tip #4 - Flash
Surprisingly, using a flash doesn't bother the animals. Flash can open up the shadows (minimizing the sunny-day exposure problems described above), and in certain situations it can provide enough light to make picture-taking possible. When taking pictures through glass, place the front of your lens against the glass and then shield it with your hand, as necessary, to avoid reflections.
Tip #5 - Composition
Take your time when composing the image in your viewfinder. Look at all four edges of the frame and then arrange the subject and its environment into a pleasing composition. One of the rules often used by professionals is the Rule of Thirds. Divide the frame into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. That creates four intersections where the lines cross. Place your primary subject on one of those intersections, and odds are good that you'll be pleased with the results.