Canadian Wildlife magazine chatted with some of the photographers featured in the magazine to get their professional tips and tricks for wildlife photography.

Here’s what they had to say.

Taylor Roades, Victoria, B.C. | @taylorroades

Recently in Canadian Wildlife: “Owl Man” Gerry Powers (Sep+Oct 2020) shown above; Amanda Vincent, seahorse conservationist (Nov+Dec 2020); and Mark Angelo on p. 32 of the Jan+Feb 2021 issue.

Advice for Fledgling Nature Photographers

Be an interested person. I find out as much as I can about every subject I am assigned to shoot. That knowledge can make or break the photograph. I would also say start shooting right now. Don’t get hung up on gear. Use any camera you can get your hands on. Equipment is important but not as important as getting to the right place at the right time and being ready. The best camera is the one you have with you.

On What Makes a Successful Nature Photograph

I think a good photograph answers a question. So really, curiosity is the best trait of any photographer.

Outdoor Hacks and Tips

I was on the coast in B.C. in the pouring rain when I saw a grizzly bear for the first time. It was so wet outside I knew I was pushing my gear to the edge, but I didn’t want to stop shooting. Finally, the camera got so wet, it stopped working. Here’s my tip: I put it into a Ziploc bag with some silica packets (the sort that come in new purchases), and they sucked all the moisture out. It saved that camera. By the way, I got my grizzly shot.

Is That a Camera in Your Pocket?

Here’s how to get the most out of your PHONE when shooting nature Pay attention to time of day. Phone cameras have less flexibility when it comes to managing light, so time it right.

Stand up for excellent photos in low light: get a handy small tripod. Also, some phone cases with photography in mind come with wrist straps, which can be invaluable in the moment. The beauty of digital is that you can take many images to get the right one. Consider burst mode for action shots.

Compose your image. It’s easy to forget to be mindful of photo structure when shooting with a phone. Think “rule of thirds.” Understand your equipment: on many phones, you can manually focus, set exposures and use specialized settings to get the best shot.

Add an external clip-on lens – telephoto, wide-angle and macro variants – and take your smartphone to the next level.

Nick Hawkins
Cow Bay, Nova Scotia | @nickhawkinsphotography

Recently in Canadian Wildlife: “Cutting the Lines” about the Bay of Fundy’s Campobello Whale Research Team (Mar+Apr 2017); and “Whales of Canada,” a special cross-country report (Mar+Apr 2019) shown above.

Advice for a Newbie

As a self-taught photographer, I found the wealth of information available freely online was essential. Focus less on the “gear talk” and more on tutorials that teach the basics. And follow people whose work you admire as you find your own direction and style. If you’re aiming to make a living from photography, be prepared to work very hard. Creativity will be essential in your photography and in how you craft your career.

On What Makes a Successful Nature Photograph

With wildlife, it’s all about capturing a compelling moment that evokes emotion in the viewer. Sometimes that can be accomplished through a simple, beautiful portrait, but often a wildlife image needs something more to stand out. Look for interesting behaviour. Ask yourself: what is my subject doing and how does this reveal something about the life of this animal?

Outdoor Hacks and Tips

Warm and comfortable clothing is essential! If you’re not comfortable while you work, you won’t work well. Keep camera equipment to a minimum, taking only what you need.


Guillaume Simoneau, Montreal, Que. | @simoneauguillaume

Clients include: Fortune, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, M le magazine du Monde, Science et Vie, Vice, The Walrus
Above: MACK catalog layout, 2018 |

The Most Essential Quality of a Photographer in Nature

One of the most important things is curiosity. I have always fostered it in all aspects of my life, and it became a true vector for creativity when I started photography.

Advice for Nature Photographers Who Want to Go Pro

Work harder and smarter than anybody else. It is a demanding path but one so incredibly rewarding it will make you forget regularly how much time and energy you put into it to succeed. And do not forget to have fun!

Do you have wildlife photos you’d like to share? Enter the Canadian Wildlife magazine Reflections of Nature Annual Photo Contest.