Kangaroos are just like any other animal in the wild. They are skittish and hop away if you approach too fast or are too noisy.
As with all wildlife it is a good idea to do some research about the animal before you attempt to shot it.
Here I am going to quickly go over what I learnt on my first attempt at photographing kangaroos:
Before you even go out for the shoot, decide which lens you want to use and attach it to your camera. Check your batteries and SD/CF cards. You do not want to messing around changing things on the shoot.
Find a large mob of kangaroos
Mob is the collective noun for kangaroos. If you are in an area with a lot of them around there is more chance that you will be able to get close to one. If you scare one away chances are there is another one a few meters to your other side.
Ask the local people where the kangaroos like to hang out. Look for areas of grass and other vegetation because this is what they like to feed on.
Approach slowly and quietly
As I have already mentioned Kangaroos are skittish. Wear good shoes and tread lightly. Try to step over sticks and branches.
When I say approach slowly I mean slowly. Take a step then stop for a minute or two. Watch your subject, if it seems relaxed and happy take another step. Stop, wait, watch.
Approach from the front
Never approach the animal from behind. You might get quite close with this approach but as soon as the Kangaroo sees you it will be gone. Also you don’t want to be taking pictures of its back, face head and pouch shots are much more interesting.
If you approach slowly from the front you build up a trust with the creature. It will take longer to get close but you have a higher chance of getting that perfect shot.
Approaching from the side can work but it is not as reliable as approaching from the front.
Take pictures as you approach
As you approach slowly and stop, take the opportunity to shoot a few frames. You may not be as close as you would like but at least you will walk away with a few pictures if the kangaroo suddenly decides that you are too close and hops off into the distance.
Remember you can always crop your images later.
Take a Buddy
Finally take a friend or assistant with you. Ask them to keep an eye on the other kangaroos around you. They can make sure you are safe and look out for points of interest.
Make sure they stay a few meters away from you. Two people approaching the same kangaroo is more likely to scare it away.
I had a lot of fun photographing kangaroos. It was a challenge especially with the mothers who had little babies in their pouches. However by taking my time and giving the mob a chance to get familiar with me I got some great personal shots.