Heather Angel

Wildlife Photography

  • Recommended


    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $75

    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

Professional photographer Heather Angel will teach you how to take photos of animals and birds in the wild.

This course is ideal for anyone who loves animals. Whether you want to photograph them in your back garden or local countryside, a Zoo, Wildlife Park or Nature Reserve or maybe you are planning that once in a life time holiday. This course will give you professional insights on taking photos of wildlife.

Photographing the natural world can be both frustrating and immensely rewarding. Becoming an observant field naturalist will ensure you gain a closer approach to wildlife before they take evasive action.

Whether in your own garden or in more remote locations, learn how to make the most of available light for taking wildlife portraits. Heather will also cover how to meter for high key and low key subjects, and how and when to use flash and how useful fill-flash can be for animals of any size. Learn when and how to get dramatic action shots of animal behaviour using fast shutter speeds and slow ones by panning the camera. Invest time working with baby animals, because although a challenge, it will be very rewarding.

Learn how to use a house as a hide and about hide etiquette in public hides. Tips and hints for getting in close to minibeasts and also for photographing life in aquaria are included - but for the specifics of macro photography join my Macro photography course.

Having found your target species, thought needs to go into how best to compose the shot and to select the most appropriate shutter speed and aperture. Discover how to get dramatic silhouettes at dusk and dawn and how to plan a photo story.

Finally, learn how to edit images and to retrieve them at a later date.

You'll learn:

  • how to approach wild animals in their natural environment whether at home or abroad
  • camera settings to achieve correctly exposed images
  • photography skills to create eye-catching portraits and arresting action shots – from beetles to large mammals
  • taking action shots and using hides


  • Camera with a zoom lens so can stand back to take wildlife. A DSLR is not essential, but it will be easier for action shots because the focusing is faster.
  • For macro shots
  • Some means of getting in close – either with a macro setting on a zoom lens or a true macro lens for a DSLR camera.
  • A flash - either in-camera or a separate flash
  • Camera support - a tripod or monopod is not essential but could be useful if need to set up the camera and wait for wildlife to arrive/ behave.

This course is suitable for photographers wanting to learn to take photographs of nature and wildlife, through to professionals who want to develop their wildlife photography skills with Heather Angel.

Time to complete this wildlife photography course:

Every student is different but in general we think the whole course will take around 13 hours 45 minutes to complete including:

  • Video lessons: 1 hour 45 minutes in total
  • Course notes: 30 minutes per lesson
  • Assignment: at least 2 hours per lesson
  • Interactive classroom time: 15 minutes per lesson
  • tutor feedback review (Expert level): 15 minutes per lesson
  • The course includes:

    • On-demand video lessons - presented by Heather Angel
    • lifetime access to the video, notes and interactive class
    • flexible classes - join and learn when and where you like
    • downloadable lesson notes
    • practical (optional) wildlife or nature photography assignments
    • access on your mobile, PC, Mac or laptop
    • small interactive online classroom chat online to students from around the world

    Ready to get started?

    Just add the course to your basket above - choose the 'Expert' option for personal feedback from Heather on your photos.

    Any questions? Contact us by clicking on the orange speech symbol - we'd love to hear from you.

    CPD Accreditation

    Course activity has been accredited by the CPD Standards Office (CPDSO). The course equates to 13 hours, 45 minutes of CPD learning.
    The CPD Standards Office. CPD Provider: 50276.

    Course outline

    • Making A Start

      This lesson covers how to approach wild animals using the equipment which is best suited for getting photographs of birds and mammals as well as macro shots of insects.  There is also guidance on metering – including tricky subjects such as white birds in the snow as well as shots with large shadow areas. Examples of different types of lighting – front, side and back, including silhouettes – are all illustrated and explained.  Finally, there are examples of how to best to frame different subjects so as to achieve a striking composition.

    • Animal Portraits

      Taking frame-filling animal portraits, whether large or small animals, requires care and thought about the lighting and composition  We will look at ways to light animal portraits, including using fill-flash to in-fill shadows and gain a catchlight in a black eye surrounded by black fur or feathers.  Your own garden can be a rich resource of wildlife subjects especially if a bird bath and a bird feeder are provided.  If the feeder can be positioned near a window in the house, this makes a handy hide – especially on wet days! Finally, guidance is also given on how to photograph mini-beasts, including insects, frogs and toads.

    • Action Shots

      Taking action shots of birds and mammals – including baby animals – is more difficult than static portraits, but great fun when they work. Baby animals are particularly rewarding – whether playing on their own or with their parents or siblings. Action can be frozen by using a fast shutter speeed and in poor light it may be necessary to increase the ISO. Moving animals can also be captured in creative ways including panning the camera in the same direction as the animal is moving and by using a slow shutter speed.

    • Nature Tamed and Wild

      This final week looks at taking wildlife in cities, collections and zoos as well as in wilderness areas. The pros and cons of taking captive versus wild animals is also covered. Advice is given for photographing animals in aquaria, how to compose images of wildlife in the habitat and points to look for when selecting a wildlife photo tour. Finally, ideas are given for shooting photo stories as well as keeping an open eye for a humorous wildlife shot.

    Choose how you want to learn

    • The Expert option


      Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Heather Angel

      • Start course whenever you like
      • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
      • 4 assignments marked by Heather Angel
      • Certificate of completion and CPD hours
      • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
      • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
      • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
      • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
      Learn more
    • The Peer option

      Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

      • Start course whenever you like
      • Practise what you learn with your peers
      • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
      • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
      • 4 course assignments
      • Group chat & direct message classmates
      • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
      Learn more

    Buy this course for a business or group

    You can now buy this course through your business or organisation for individuals and groups up to 20

    Photography classroom - how it works

    • Start anytime

      Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

      Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
    • Test yourself

      Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

      Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
    • Personal tuition

      Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

      Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
    • Share ideas

      Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

      Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Meet Heather Angel

    Heather Angel - Photography
    Heather Angel abandoned a career as a marine biologist to become a peripatetic wildlife photographer - with 32 visits to China alone. As well as being a prodigious writer (her 60th title appeared in 2015), she also lectures and runs workshops. Heather is at the forefront of nature photography and her work is recognised by worldwide awards. In 1975 Heather was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Hood Medal for her contribution to the advancement of nature photography through her books, her teaching, her exhibition work and her encouragement of other nature photographers.

    From 1984-86 Heather was President of the Royal Photographic Society and she is a Visiting Professor at Nottingham University. Major exhibitions of her work have been shown worldwide. Most recently, Heather has experimented with lighting techniques for macro subjects as well as taking many hundreds of focus stacks for Pollination Power – a 5 year project that combines art and science for the RBG Kew.

    I'm a roaming wildlife photographer with four great passions - mammals, lighting for macros, making plants look exciting and offbeat China (it really does exist!).

    Press quotes
    A phenomenon in both natural science and professional photography, Heather Angel is an example of all that is best in both disciplines.
    The Master Photographer

    Heather manages to spot and bring to life insignificant parts of the natural world.
    David Attenborough

    Heather Angel has over the course of a long career written her story in hundreds of thousands of images that have served to inform us, enlighten us and elevate our spirits.
    Gray Levett, Editor, Nikon Owner Magazine

    For Heather's blog, galleries and workshops http://www.heatherangelphotography.co.uk
    Twitter @angelantics
    Instagram heatherangelphotography

    Portrait photo credit: Derek Tamea.

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    Awards & Accreditations

    • Royal Horticultural Society - Approved Centre 2023-2024
    • Royal Horticultural Society
    • CPD Accredited (provider 50276)
    • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Digital Health and Wellbeing Learning Product of the Year
    • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Adult Home Learning Product of the Year