Evoking Emotion & Feeling in Wildlife Photos – Part 2

Continued from Evoking Emotion & Feeling in Wildlife Images – Part 1


For both images above, I chose a vertical composition. In the first image, the leading lines from the bottom left of the frame direct the eye up to the bird. I also wanted to show more of the textures of the tree as well as the birds habitat.

As a rule, for a tall bird, a vertical composition is well suited. In the second image, the parakeet hanging on the outside is tall and the vertical frame provides balance.

The dappled light in the images above works well when they have a spotlight effect or bring out details in textures. They can also be composed for an artistic effect.


When photographing timid and shy subjects such as birds, it is often too difficult to get close to them. In these situations, a long prime lens such as a 500mm or 600mm lens or a zoom telephoto lens allow magnification levels that bring the birds closer in the frame.

Because super-telephoto lenses have a very narrow-angle of view and compress the background and the foreground, the depth of field can be shallow even at F/11 or even at F/16. When shooting a bird up close, it is best to not shoot wide open as it may throw parts of the bird out of focus. For this reason, I prefer to always shoot at F/8 or higher. An aperture value of F/8 or higher provides enough depth to keep the bird in focus.

Canon IDX /600mm + 1.4X /1/800 sec @ F/8 / Rose-ringed Parakeet

In Conclusion

Creating an emotional impact with your wildlife photos requires planning and execution of those elements that help tell a story. A photographer’s goal should not be just to chase after colorful and rare birds in order to show their technical skills but to come up with images that spell-bound the viewer with a strong story and visual artistry. An image of a common bird such a the Rose-ringed parakeet can be far more visually stunning and create an emotional impact if it has a good story, creates a tender mood, and is followed up with creative composition and shooting techniques.

About Author Gaurav Mittal

Gaurav Mittal is a professional bird photographer and a blogger who grew up with a passion for nature and wildlife in his native birthplace of New Delhi, India. Gaurav migrated to the U.S. at the age of fifteen. After completing his college, he pursued a career in tax consulting in the Washington D.C. area. It was, however the love for the birds that eventually brought the focus back in his life and a determination to follow his heart, to be a bird photographer. Gaurav’s passion for photographing birds began in 2011 in Bosque Del Apache, New Mexico where observing the Sandhill Cranes brought a sense of harmony and a new vision to him. A moment he captured and fondly calls, “Kissed in The Mist” left him with a vision to continue on further and explore and learn about birds and how he can present their beauty through photography. His desire to be a top class bird photographer has led him to places such as Bharatpur, Bosque, Alaska, New York, Costa Rica and Florida.