Recently we narrowed in on the importance of gear in stock photography. Does gear actually matter? Turns out it really does when you’re dealing with a niche genre like wildlife photography.

As this is the category where gear really does make a difference, we figured we’ll dig into the gear bags of professionals. Looking at their photographs, you’re probably were wondering the same thing as everyone else – how do they achieve such picture-perfect images?

Menno Schaefer and Ondrej Prosicky have incredible portfolios that tell a story of a more inaccessible life in the wilderness. Their line of work requires a lot of patience, skill and of course only the best equipment. Let’s see what our top contributors use as their go-to gear:

Menno Schaefer’s wildlife photography essentials

“As a child, I always interested in wildlife, especially the birds of prey. So when I started taking pictures of birds of prey, the other species were in focus during time as well – and so it began. And now I’m taking as many pictures of wildlife as I can. I shoot everything from bears to foxes and birds.”

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Canon 1Dx

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Canon 500mm f4

Canon-500mm-f4-wildlife-photography-essentials

Canon 100-400mm type II

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Canon 70-200mm type II

Canon-70-200mm-type-II-wildlife-photography-gear-essentials

Canon 24-105mm

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Canon 16-35mm f4

Canon-16-35mm-f4-wildlife-gear-essentials

Full interview with Menno Schaefer

Ondrej Prosicky’s wildlife photography essentials

“You really must be ready to take the risk of setting out on a journey of thousands of kilometres with a planned project and then even not finding the main object of your interest in the virgin forest. Not many photographers dare this, that´s why the topics of the photos are being copied all the time and all snaps are the same. For me, it gets interesting when I feel a 10% probability of an attractive shoot.”

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Canon EOS 1DX Mark II

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Canon lens EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II USM

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Canon EF 70- 200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM

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Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC

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Full interview with Ondrej Prosicky

It goes without saying that having the right gear is absolutely crucial if you want to shoot wildlife. You have to devote time to learning about all the equipment you will need for each trip. You must also know and understand your subjects as Ondrej pointed out – you simply can’t go photographing without prior knowledge of your subjects and the environment.

Another basic requirement is knowing the rules, or knowing them enough to break the rules of photography. To sum it up, here are some of the things you should consider when undertaking a project like wildlife photography:

  • Know your gear
  • Study your subjects and the environment
  • Learn everything there is to learn about lighting
  • Study photography rules and learn to break them
  • Experiment with shooting wider and shooting closer
  • Learn to be patient if you want to succeed

If you’re interested in learning more about wildlife photography, the tips, advice and reflections from professionals, let us know in the comments section below.

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