How to get the perfect quokka photo
One of Australia’s top emerging travel photographers, James Vodicka, gives his tips on how to capture the perfect quokka photo.
The first time I visited Rottnest Island with Rottnest Express, I wasn’t planning on taking a single quokka photo. I was determined to capture another side to the island – the natural landscape and underwater beauty that wasn’t as often shared on social media. This was until my sunset shoot at the remote Stark Bay was rudely interrupted by one of the island’s furry little natives. He was very inquisitive and stuck by my side for an hour as I watched the sun set over the ocean from a rocky headland. Naturally, I couldn’t help but take a few shots.Show more
There’s so much beauty to photograph on Rottnest Island, from the white sand beaches and crystal blue water right down to the cheeky quokkas. It’s a destination I will absolutely come back to – always with camera in hand.
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Of course, the most important part of any quokka photo is the quokka itself. Here are a few tips to capture the cutest quokka photo.
- They are naturally inquisitive – Quokkas are naturally curious, so you do not need to approach quokkas or offer them food to get close enough for a photograph. Simply get down to their level and wait for them to come to you.
- Capture the smile – A quokka’s smile becomes visible when they look up and towards the camera, stretch their neck out inquisitively, or are mid-meal. Wait for these moments to capture your photographs – it’s well worth it.
Quokkas are small marsupials native to Rottnest Island. They're often called 'happiest animal on Earth' because of their cheeky smiles.
Once you find a quokka to photograph, you’ll need the right camera to capture the shot. If, like most visitors to the island, you're hunting for a selfie, an iPhone or GoPro is really all you need. If you’re like me and prefer to stay on the other side of the camera, there are a few options for getting the best photo, depending on the look that you’re going for:
- Wide Angle – Looking to get up close and really exaggerate the curious smirking expression of the quokka? You’ll need a wide angle lens, anything from about 10-24mm, and will want to be shooting as close as your lens allows before reaching its minimum focusing distance.
- Standard – Anything from about 30-60mm will appear the most ‘normal’, as it is closest to the focal length of the human eye and what most phones tend to shoot at.
There are a few small factors that people rarely consider when photographing quokkas, but they might make all the difference towards getting that perfect photo.
- Lighting – It’s no secret to photographers that the golden hours of the day (one hour before or after sunrise and sunset) are the best times to photograph. The light is less harsh and the subject is illuminated by a glow that can make anyone look like a supermodel.
- The Smile – When framing the shot, focus on the smile. This is the money maker and the aspect of a quokka photo that makes people go crazy with cuteness-overload.
I'll see you there...
If you follow most of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to scoring the perfect quokka photo with ease. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip right now – head to Rottnest Express to book ferries, bike hire or tours, Discovery Parks to book luxury glamping accommodation, and fill out my contact form to invite me to come over with you!