We asked German animal photographer Tanja Brandt (tanjabrandt) for help when it comes to animal photography.

Here are her best 7 tips to get better animal photos:

1. You Must Love Animals.

You have to see the beauty in the animals. Their power, their courage, their pride, the character of the animal and you have to show it in your images. Since I was a little baby I have had animals near me and I wanted to show others how great animals are.

2. Patience.

The most important thing is patience though. I let the animals interact with each other and I just wait and watch them. I try to distance myself from them so they don’t get confused by my presence. When the perfect interaction occurs I take the picture.

3. Bring Your Camera With You. Always.

If I go out with my animals, I always have my camera with me. I am using the Nikon D4 with different lenses. Most used is the Nikkor 70-200mm, 2.8, but also the Macro 105mm, 2.8, the 50mm, 1.8 and the 14-24mm, 2.8.

4. Don’t be afraid to get dirty.

Don't be afraid of dirt, water, red ants, cow dung, and other not-so-pleasant things. Very often, I am lying in big water puddles, or covered with red ants that always find their way into my trousers. Once I was standing in cow dung to get the perfect picture.

5. Train Your Pets.

If you have a dog, a cat or whatever animal, it is important with training. I spend a lot of time with my pets so they feel comfortable with me and trust me in every situation. Some of my own pets, like Ingo and Poldi (my dog and my little owl) are my best friends who trust me when I shoot them.

6. Consider a wider aperture.

If possible, I recommend a wider aperture. I use the open aperture if I’m shooting one animal at a time. I usually use the 70-200, 2.8 mm. For wildlife photography, I prefer a bigger one (the 150-500 or the converter). For action shots, I use a shutter time from 1/1.250 sec. or shorter.

Do you love animals as much as we do? Check out Tanja's profile and website.