Monday, May 10, 2010

Today's 10 tips for capturing your critters (with your camera)

I'm often asked how I manage to be at the right place at the right time to capture my critters with my camera. I think it's a combination of knowing my animals and knowing how to use my camera, with a little luck thrown in for good measure. I'm going to dissect yesterday morning's photo shoot to try to give you some specific tips that might help you take better pictures of your own herd.

All animals are creatures of habit. My boys have a habit of getting all mellow after breakfast and taking a nap. Chances are good that a few photo opportunities will present themselves if I'm patient.

Tip #1. Know your animals' habits and take advantage of them.



When you take and post as many pictures as I do, you run the risk of all your pictures starting to look the same, so...

Tip #2. Be on the lookout for something you haven't seen before.



If you're going to take pictures of animals, sometimes it helps to get down to their level.

Tip #3. Don't be afraid to get dirty.



There's no rule that says you have to hold your camera level all the time.

Tip #4. Don't be afraid to tilt your camera to fit your subject in the frame.



There's also no rule that says a good picture of an animal has to include all of his body parts.

Tip #5. Get up close and personal.



Tip #6. Don't focus so hard on what you're trying to capture that you miss an opportunity that happens elsewhere.



Tip #7. Since you're already filthy, crawl around and see who else might look good from ground level.



Tip #8. Be aware of what's happening behind you and don't jeopardize your safety.



Tip #9. Don't let an opportunity pass you by. Sometimes there isn't time to compose a shot, adjust your camera settings and focus, so just point and shoot. You've got nothing to lose, and you might get lucky.



Tip #10. Work the angles. If you've got a scene you like, capture it from every direction. Move further away or get closer or climb higher or get lower. Bet you didn't know that taking pictures could be an aerobic activity.


And above all, remember that good pictures do not come from the camera you use, they come from how you use your camera.

34 comments:

  1. What outstanding pictures and the tips given to help us all out. I'm still laughing over Tip #6 ... it took a little while for me to figure out what in the world was going on there!!! Neat, unique shot!!! Tip #8 was kind of scary for me, but I'm older then you and don't move as fast, although I probably would surprise myself in that case.

    All your pictures show how comfortable your animals are with you and your camera, but I also think you have a special talent at taking pictures.

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  2. I enjoyed this. I guess because you talked about 2 of my favorite subjects. Animals and Photography. You gave me new ideas. My favorite is these--the legs crossed.

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  3. Loved the self portrait of Deets helping you "balance" your shot! Good one!

    What kind of equipment/lenses do you use most of the time?

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  4. Great tips, I always wonder how you manage to get such a great variety of shots. I often feel like mine start to look all the same after awhile. I love that you can keep a fresh and interesting perspective every day. And I totally agree about the equipment - I just wish I knew how to use mine better!

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  5. OMG!! that deets...cats are such oportunists eh? :-)
    signed
    Theresa in Alberta

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  6. Thanks for this, Linda! I do not have a herd, but your tips will work regardless of what I photograph. Since I often take pictures of birds, guess I had been start climbing trees!

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  7. You are the queen on this subject so I was taking notes.

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  8. Great tips, Linda, presented in a way that we will always remember.

    I would add one more (for a photographer like me)--take a bazillion shots. Something's bound to turn out!

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  9. Thanks for the great tips. I often find myself crawling around the floor or the yard, so I'll take my camera with me next time. (No I'm not a drinker, just do a lot of weeding and picking up of toys)!

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  10. Nancy in NC5/10/10, 6:55 AM

    Thanks for all the info. Maybe you'll see some of my "new" photo's on FB. And I particularly liked the last one since all I have is a point & shoot.

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  11. This post was so enjoyable! Thank you for your tips. I love coming here every day to see what's next in the life of the 7 MSN.

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  12. Pssst, Linda. There's a cat on your butt.
    Deets is THE BOMB! :)

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  13. Deets! What timing!

    Wonderful tips, and I have to say, I bet they help with the little two legged critters too!

    (And I don't mean chickens)

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  14. Very good points and well said! I love the photos that document every single tip. Great job :)

    Cabin Fever in Vermont

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  15. Great tips, thanks for sharing. And of course, it helps that all of your animals see your camera and come running. :)

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  16. What an outstanding post in every way!!! You made me smile and laugh, and I really need that today!

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  17. Great tips! But I still think you have a special talent that most of us don't posess.

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  18. You said it well....... and showed it equally well..... Thanks!

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  19. I don't have animals now but I enjoyed your tips anyway.

    I thought I'd pass on this web address, 7MSN. This lady makes gorgeous rugs and you have gorgeous animals. Gorgeous + gorgeous = gorgeous squared, right?!?
    www.libertyhomesteadrugs.com/The_Artist.html

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  20. I've always loved the shots of animals getting their noses right in the lens.... mostly it happens so fast you hardly have time to click....

    great tips..along with practice, practice, and more practice....til we get a few good ones....can't believe how many photos I upload some days and only get two out of the lot that I like...

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  21. Very good! The last line is the clincher!

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  22. Great tips :). Photo #5 is my favourite, such a kissable nose!

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  23. OK, goo', I yam allow' to carment now? Whad, you deedn' onnerstan' my aghsen'? Ees so sad. How does Deets speaghe? He ees nateeb to Nuevo Mexico, yes?

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  24. Excellent tips! I like the last part about it being an aerobic activity. Every time I remember to carry the camera, I'm always getting dirty and half the time it's point, shoot and pray I got anything at all.
    Great post! Makes me want to go out and shoot right now!

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  25. All you need is love, love is all you need. Fabulous.
    Best always, Sandra

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  26. Thanks for sharing all these tips!! I am not a very good photographer, but I do the best I can. I have always wondered how everyone gets such good shots of animals, I can never seem to catch the animals doing something funny or cute. They move to quick for me! I guess I need a little more patience and even though it is difficult for me to crawl around on the ground (I might never get back up) I should try that more often!

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  27. I must say, your tips did open the box up for me - although I don't have quite the amazing subject matter to photograph. But thanks for trying to help us out!
    However, despite all of that, you did not humbly mention that there is some inherent natural ability and talent to being able to capture the photos you do! You do have a wonderful talent and your narration is always one to bring a smile! Athough my guess is that Deets thinks he is the one responsible for all of this :)

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  28. OmyGoodness. No truer words spoken. Such great tips and love your pictures. That shot of the mane hair....love it! Makes me think of the movie The Horse Whisperer.
    Deets rocks it. He's so cool!

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  29. Those are some great tips but I think you forgot to mention that it takes a lot of natural talent too. I will never get half as good of shots no matter how hard I try but it's not going to stop me from trying. lol.

    I love tips #2 and #6.

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  30. Just what this frazzled gal needed to come home to tonight! I laughed my hiney off(aerobic as well..almost) reading your adorable post and seeing a different perspective on things!
    Loved it!
    KK

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  31. Ohhhhhh, Such a great post, in every way. GREAT Pictures and Perfect Commentary, and I might add, very helpful, too....
    Your love for your Animals comes through in every picture you take and we cannot help but fall in love with them, too...I know I am!

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  32. Great post and photos...thanks for the tips!

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  33. Great tips! Thanks. I have an old Pentax SLR but it does need to go into the camera shop for a tune up. It seems all I use these days is my digital...so liberating. Still, I miss a great lens!

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