Guests Photographing Stingray Bay at Brookfield Zoo

Photography Tips

The zoo's photographer recommends the following tips to help you take better photographs while at the zoo:

  • Visit early or late in the day, when the animals are most active, the zoo is the least crowded, and the light is better.
  • Be patient! The best photographs come after observing the animal closely and watching how it uses the exhibit. Wait until it is against a natural setting like rockwork or trees or is foraging for food or interacting with another animal.
  • Use a tripod if you have one.
  • Taking pictures inside exhibits can be difficult. Please observe posted signs regarding flash photography, which is prohibited in some buildings. Where flash photography is permitted, shoot at an 18-degree angle to the glass, so that the flash penetrates the glass rather than bouncing off of it.
  • If you have them, bring lenses for long-distance shots. That way you can get photos of animals that stay in the rear of their exhibits or roost near the roof.
  • Try to keep the animal's eyes in focus when you take the picture.
  • Some naturally photogenic and charismatic animals are found in The Fragile Kingdom, Pachyderm House, and Tropic World. However, do not just focus on the big animals; keep your eyes open for interesting birds, small mammals, insects, reptiles, and plants.
  • If you are looking for natural scenes, try Salt Creek Wilderness. You will find great subjects there, including migrating birds and small native mammals.
  • Don't forget the zoo grounds when looking for good shots. Roosevelt Fountain is a popular scene, as are the lion sculptures at the South Gate entrance.
  • If you run out, film is available at most shops and seasonal stands around the zoo.