Zoo Photography

If you want to try your hand at zoo photography, it's vital to know exactly how to make the most of shooting animals through glass.

Zoo Photography

Zoo Photography: Chameleon

Many photographers find photographing animals in the zoo a challenging endeavour.

Shots taken through glass easily look muddy, soft or ruined by reflections. However, if you learn the basic rules, you won’t run the risk of missing out on good photo opportunities.

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Tips for Shooting Through Glass


  • A Fast Lens: Shoot with as wide an aperture as possible.
  • Tripod: A vital tool reduce camera-shake.
  • A Scarf: A scarf will come in handy to wrap around the front of your lens so that no extraneous light enters the space between the lens and the glass.
  • Try to find an area of glass with an even surface. You have to be able to push your lens flat against it.

  •  Clean the area of glass you’re going to shoot through as best you can. 

  •  Wrap a piece of material around the front of your lens where it rests on the glass. You want to ensure that as little extraneous light as possible enters the space between the lens and the glass. This will eliminate reflections. 

  • Shoot with your lens wide open to soften the background as much as possible. Use the fastest lens you have in your kit.

  •  Increase the ISO as needed.

  •  Shoot with a tripod, or at least make sure that you rest your camera on something sturdy. 

  • Turn your flash off! Shooting with flash will only cause glare.

  • Think about a pleasing composition before pressing the shutter button.


Don’t be afraid to selectively boost colour in the digital darkroom if you find your image lacks punch. Done correctly it can dramatically improve an otherwise lifeless photograph. It’s also recommended that you do a little sharpening as needed.

If you found inspiration on our Animal Photography Tips page, feel free to browse the following pages too:

Related Pages

* More Zoo Photo Tips

* Bird Photography Tips

* Pet Photography Tips

Hope you enjoyed our article on how to photograph animals through glass!

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