Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tips on Animal Photography

Are you an animal lover? Do you snap photos of your cats as if they were your children? Well, if so, take heart. Thousands of other animal lovers do the same. The best part is that by using these tips, you may be able to learn some new tricks that help you get those great shots you need.

The first step is to be sure that you practice first. While it may seem silly if you are photographing your puppies, watch their movement for a few minutes first. If you will be taking pictures of larger or wild animals, take a trip to your local zoo or other enclosed area. Get an idea of how these animals move so that you will be prepared to take their pictures.

You should make sure that you know the animal. Be sure that you are aware of what the animal eats. You may want to bring a snack along as a reward or to distract the animal. Also know if the animal has sensitive eyes, for example, because the flash from your camera could cause a commotion. Be sure that you do your research before you start taking pictures of animals. You also can get an idea from your research of what may be natural shots. If you are photographing giraffes, for instance, then a shot of a giraffe stretching to eat the leaves on a tree would be a good habitat picture. You would want to get alligators in the water, though. Just make sure that you know what the animals are likely to be doing when you are trying to take their pictures.

The third tip for animal photography is to have patience. While many people argue that patience is a virtue, it can become trying. Instead of trying to force the animals to do what you want, which is about as productive as pushing your children to pose for the camera, sit back and wait. Do not sit with your eye at the camera, or you will become tired and frustrated quickly. Instead, you should interact with the animal. Make him feel comfortable and then snap some shots. Do not plan on a certain look or the perfect shot with animal photography because, at least at the beginning, it will be very difficult to manipulate the animals into cooperating. Try for clear, crisp photos that will look great in your portfolio.

The final, but most important, factor to remember is that you are more important than any picture. Do not put yourself at risk for a photo. If you ever feel uncomfortable, or if you feel that an animal is uncomfortable with your presence, leave the scene. It is not worth your life to get a perfect shot. The animal could have an uneasy feeling or may just be having a bad day. Either way, do not risk yourself for the picture. It will do you no good to have a perfect picture if you are not alive to enjoy it!

By Julia Mercer

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