Steve McCurry is well known and often awarded for his powerful documentary photography from conflict areas all over the world, like for example the famous photograph of an Afghan girl below.
McCurry has often said that he tries to immerse himself into the culture of the location he is visiting, and rather than immediately head out with his camera, he prefers to watch and wait, saying “If you wait, people will forget your camera and the soul will drift up into view.” (via Phoblographer)
And this is exactly what makes the difference in photography, also in wildlife photography, wait and watch. On photographic safaris, during team building photo safaris and during wildlife photography courses in the Masai Mara, Serengeti, Kruger National Park, the Okavango Delta and elsewhere, this very same principle applies. When we are out on a wildlife photography course the probably most important lesson is to practice patience and not try to force anything. There are people who call the animals from the vehicle or make noises or some even google lion roaring on their iPad to play it at the lion sighting to make the lion do something. They found it to boring just sitting and waiting. By doing any of these, the animals will not show their soul, they will not trust and do their natural thing and the photographer will not get the powerful images he/she is wanting. Only when spending time with the animals they begin to relax and do their normal thing, trust is built and by just being with them the greatest photographic opportunities emerge. The wildlife photographer got to tune into the environment, just like Steve McCurry does on other locations and wait, giving the animals the space to be and show how beautiful they are.
Try it at home with cats and dogs. They will appreciate it and you will get great pictures.