Urban Animals: 5 Tips For Shooting with a Superzoom Point-And-Shoot Camera

Superzoom cameras are wildly popular but a bit misunderstood. They have fantastic zoom ranges, that’s obvious, but there’s much more to them than that. Here are our favorite tips for shooting Urban Animals with a superzoom camera.

We’re making the dangerous assumption here that you’ve already scoured the Owner’s Manual and—what? Not so? Okay then, just find the OM and skim the sections that cover special effects, custom white balance and exposure modes. You’ll want to experiment later, and those three topics will give you some ideas.

5. If you want to shoot ducks…
…go where the ducks are, or so the old folks say. If you have trouble finding urban animals to photograph, check out your local nature preserve, Audubon center or even a park that has a pond.


4. Fill the frame
A major benefit of using a superzoom camera is the long zoom lens which makes it easier to fill the  frame with your subject, even when far away. Do it.


3. Urban animals can be anywhere
This ominous-looking bird was eyeing us from a telephone wire in the Starbucks parking lot. Luckily we had a superzoom at the ready and snapped this shot. This is full-frame (uncropped) image. Nikon Coolpix B600 camera was set to square format (3456 x 3456 pixels in this case). Camera was steadied on car roof. Can’t get shots like this with a smartphone. In fact, you can’t get this shot with an entry level DSLR and kit zoom.


2. Use a high shutter speed
Especially when photographing birds, use the highest shutter speed possible. Pump up the ISO if you must, but keep the shutter duration short. Otherwise you’ll end up with flapping feathers and fuzzy shots. If your camera has built-in Scene Modes, use Sports or Action mode.


1. Specialize
The Urban Animal genre includes everything from feral cats to marauding woodchucks (don’t tell us that woodchucks don’t raid and plunder—we know better). If you want to improve in measurable ways, pick a species or two and specialize.

All photos in this article were shot with a superzoom camera. All images ©Jon Sienkiewicz

—Shutterbug Staff