Taking Good Photos At the Zoo
October 06, 2011
Enjoy taking pictures of animals? Whether they are your own pets or animals seen on a random stroll, they make good photography subjects. However, getting that perfect picture can be quite challenging. I really enjoy taking pictures of animals, because the results (such as the one above) are worth it. Zoos, aquariums, and the like can provide great opportunities for animal pictures. The following are some tips I’d like to share with you. Some come from Fodor’s Focus on Photography, while others are from my own experiences.
You will often find yourself having to shoot pictures through glass or a fence. With glass, don’t use the on-camera flash, even if you see other people doing it. All you’ll usually get for your troubles is an ugly reflection (Trust me on this one). Instead, set your camera to a higher film speed or use film with a preset high speed.
To help with glass, Fodor’s recommends that you put your lens right up against it and shoot the picture that way. Personally, I have never been comfortable doing this. Getting really close to the glass without the camera actually touching, it seems to work just as well for me.
With fences, the best way to get a good shot is to either find a position so you can shoot over them, or use a zoom lens to shoot through them. If neither option will work, or if you want the fence as part of the picture, try to focus on the animal’s eyes. If your camera has an automatic focus, don’t be too dependent on it. Otherwise, you may end up with a picture of a perfectly in-focus fence and a blurry animal. Look around as well; there may be certain spots where, if you stand in the right place and use a zoom lens, you can take a picture with no fence visible at all.
Resist the urge to take quick shots right off the bat (which is something I have a hard time doing). Instead, observe the animal. Does it have a walking or swimming pattern that brings it by a certain spot? If so, find a place near that spot and get your camera ready. You will increase the odds of getting a good picture.
Above all else, have fun. You can learn more tips at Fodor’s Focus on Photography. The Excelsior Springs Branch also has a photo group where you can share your pictures (and the stories behind them) at its meetings. The next meeting will be on December 13 at 6:30 p.m. Call us at 630-6721 for more information.
Excelsior Springs Branch