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Animal Photography Tips

Monday, April 23, 2018

This evening, I decided to check out a photo meetup at Canon about pet photography. It is always hard to take a good picture of animals because they are restless and they will move a lot, even if it just moving their heads around and changing poses every second. I am usually not fast enough to get that perfect shot on that pose I originally noticed. But sometimes I get average or an interesting candid shot. I added photographs of Gumby during a photo shoot session, which was inside my townhouse. The last picture is an old photograph of me with my 3 late shihtzus and two of my late parents’ late shihtzus.

The animal photography, Anabel D. Flux provided ten tips on improving your pet photography skills, based on her personal experience as a self-taught photographer since she was 15.

  • You first need the right equipment and techniques. The body of the camera and lens are the most important parts of the camera. It is also know how to work the frames per second to your advantage. For instance, using 10 frames per second is good for action photography. Also, use camera with lots of noise for indoor photography. Using 7 frames per second will be slower but good for indoor photography. Moreover, use 2 camera bodies to do different photography work. The lens controls the aperture, focal length, and sharpness. 70 – 200 mm lens is a telephoto, which is very tight and great for action photography. Lower the f-stop to create shallower depth of field. 24 – 270 mm lens goes quickly from wide to narrow, but creates natural and realistic pictures. Filters enable shooting at wide aperture in bright sunlight.  Use knee pads for low shots. The Focus Mode, such as AI Servo, enables locking the camera to the subject so that you can follow the subject around without a need to refocus for each shot. AI Servo is located in the menu of your camera. Burst Mode involves taking multiple photographs in a row while pressing on the shutter. (Frames Per Second). Panning is for technique and action, and it involves focusing on subject and following the subject around. Composition is about the organization of certain subjects and contents in the photograph. Consider shooting from the subject’s eye level, which might involve lying on the floor or climbing on top of objects. Leave more negative space, which is empty space, in the direction of the implied movement, which is the next imagined movement of the subject.

  • Make sure photograph focus is locked on the eyes.

  • Make sure animal is comfortable with the set-up before starting the photo shoot. Before working with the animal, spend a couple of minutes with the animal, getting to know it and playing with it, and let it sniff the equipment so that the animal does not sense fear or intimidation of any kind. Same goes for using props, different locations, and human models. Make sure the animal feels comfortable with the added props, different locations, and human models that it works with in the photo shoot.

  • The more tired an animal feels will make the better to work with or more cooperative. An hour before the photo shoot, take the dog for a walk. Older dogs are easier to work with.

  • Be adaptable by being one step ahead, which is about always being prepared for the worst scenario. Make a couple of plans, just in case problems occur with the first plan.

  • Toys, treats and noise are your best friend in pet photography to help you control the animal’s behavior. Take shots quickly after you make the noise.

  • Continuous lighting is also your best friend when working with exotic animals as well as indoor photography. Don’t use lighting that gets too hot because accidents can happen with animals, and it can endanger their life. Remember, animals are like babies. They are curious and they don’t any better. They just want attention, love, food, treats, and to play.

  • Patience is an important quality when working with animals because they are spontaneous and uncooperative. You really don’t know what they will do next, and you might need to just wait around with your camera for that perfect shot. Let them be themselves and do their thing because accidental surprises can turn into a blessing. That perfect shot will just miraculously or magically happen at the right moment and the right time; so, always be prepared for the unforeseen future.

  • If the owner or pet appear to be stressed out, take a break. 30 minutes is usually sufficient.  It also might be a good idea for a change of scenery or a new location because the animal isn’t comfortable in a particular location or place. Wildlife animals get easily stressed.

  • Be creative. For instance, when shooting a black animal, consider overexposing the photograph slightly.

You can check out this photographer’s work at www.DeliquesceFlux.com

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Written by Fifi Leigh

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