The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Photographing Animals

How can you take a photograph of an animal and have it really look great? How to make that 'pet portrait?' The big difference in a photo of an animal is getting that eye contact. If you catch the eye contact -- you have a great portrait.

Last March National Geographic had a cover story on animal minds. The photography that accompanied the article was wonderful -- great examples of animal portraits. Along with the story is a photo gallery and a video. The video is very interesting. Photographer Vince Musi talks about the animals and making the photos for the magazine. From what I heard him say about a marmoset -- I don't want to get too close to one. Also, if I ever need to calm down a prairie dog -- now I know how. After watching the video and listening to what Mr. Musi went through to get those magnificent photos -- I think taking photos of my dog Rosebud is a piece of cake!

The photo on this post is my mother's cat, Rora. She is kind of easy to photograph. Of all the pet photos I have taken in the past couple of years, hers usually turn out better. She will freeze and she will make eye contact with the camera.

The lens I used for this photo is the 50mm. I believe for portraits you can't beat that lens. The aperture was very shallow (1.4). The low aperture is the selling feature of this lens -- it makes it extra fast -- and in animal situations you need fast. I wish I had bumped it up a little on this one to secure more depth of field -- but all in all I am happy with the portrait of Rora.
Another tidbit about animals....I have a goldfish pond in my yard. I really like the fish. In the pond are goldfish, shubunkins, and a couple koi (and frogs, snails, an occasional turtle and snake). The little gadget on the blog called feed the fish -- well -- when I saw it I had to add it. This reminds me of my fish so much! I hope you like it.


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