In 2021, we launched our new and improved Zoo Member Calendar, starring photos taken by our very own Zoos Victoria Members! With so many talented Zoo Members, we opened the competition again for the 2022 Zoo Member Calendar!  

Entries closed

Thank you for entering. Shortlisted winners will be contacted by 16 July. Be sure to read the full terms and conditions. 

How can I ensure my photo qualifies?
  • Photos with watermarks will not be accepted 
  • Nothing can be removed, adjusted or added to your original photograph 
  • Black and white photos will not be accepted 
  • Each member can submit:
  • Maximum of three photos per zoo, with a maximum of nine photos in total
  • If you submit more, only the first three per zoo (nine total) will be accepted and any further will be ineligible.
  • Visit all three zoos to enter the maximum nine photos
  • Check out our resident Zoos Victoria Photographer Jo’s hints and tips below for how to get started 
Timing is everything

A great time to see the animals at their most active is during daily keeper talks. The animals also tend to be more active earlier in the day and late in the afternoon (avoid the hottest part of the day). 

Check out the keeper talk times now for Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo.  

Find a backdrop

Make sure the animal is the main focus of the image. Pay attention to your background, try to avoid distracting items such as human-made objects (i.e. fencing), distracting foliage or other animals. You can change your position, angle of view or you can find a great angle for your background and wait for the animal to move into that space. 

The main focus

Try to ensure you have an animal’s eye in focus in your photographs. In many cameras, you can choose your focus point, if you can do so, put this chosen point over the animal’s eye in the frame to use it as your focus point. Some cameras even have a handy setting called ‘animal eye focus tracking’. 

A way to separate your subject from its surrounds is to use a shallow depth of field – this is where the subject is in focus and the foreground and background are out of focus. You can do this by using the largest aperture (such as F2.8 or 4) possible in ‘Manual’ or ‘Aperture Priority’ settings on your camera. If you do not know how to do this, consult your camera manual or set the camera to portrait mode as it will have a similar effect. 

Tools of the trade

You do not need to have the biggest zoom lens or professional quality gear to get great photos. You can use anything from a camera phone up to a DSLR. 

If you do have a zoom lens, don’t forget that details of animals such as close ups of feathers, eyes or patterns of fur can be just as impactful as an image of a whole animal in its environment. Without a zoom you can concentrate on showing animals in their habitat, larger groups or head to places such as the butterfly house, the reptile house or lemurs where you have the chance to see the animals at close range. 

Leave no trace

Just remember photographing animals takes patience, please respect the animals and also fellow zoo visitors. Never bang on exhibit glass or raise your voice to try and get an animal to react.  Take your time and give yourself more chance to enjoy the animals, their behaviour and your photography.