Photographing Animals and Your Pets…Is This a Good Idea?
Be careful here and as I said earlier, don’t fall into the trap of simply taking snapshots of your pets, they will be rejected and make you feel bad*. As we have learned, try setting up something different, comical, humorous and eye opening.
*Of course, we know these rules are sometimes broken as I found out when this image sold for $136 (can’t find original) even though it is very “snapshottish” (I made that word up).
Add a theme or concept to your pet images, make sure they are well exposed and composed and the best they can be. If they are radically different with the “wow” factor, they will be accepted and make sales.
Again, when out and about, keep your eyes open for anything different…animals doing funny or different things.
…and wait for the right moment…
On that point of waiting for the right moment and being patient, it is true what they say…
“Patience is a virtue”.
When you are next out and about at your local park and you see a Swan preening itself and ruffling its feathers…hang around. Almost always after a good “session”, a swan will show off its plumage and have a good stretch. I waited for about 10 minutes to get this shot and it sold at Alamy for a whopping $399.
The main things I would suggest when shooting animals are:
- Firstly, respect the animal and its surroundings
- Get to know a little about the animal and its habits, do some research
- Research top selling animal shots
- Make sure your shot is different
- Lose the “snapshot” look (use a wide aperture or take it out of “normal” context)
- Check the background and move if possible/necessary
- Check your timing. Wait for the animal to do something different
- Think about how it could be used by the buyer and work around that
- If possible, introduce another element to make it more interesting
I will try and distinguish this from landscapes because that deserves it own section and thoughts. Nature stock photography more often than not takes into account some form of life form be it human, animal, insect, bird or fish.
Any shot without those elements taken in the wild or in the countryside would be classified as landscape, at least when keywording and categorizing although there are some grey areas.
For example, a shot such as a dramatic and stormy skyline would (for me) be more classified as nature and not so much landscape. My reasoning behind that would be thoughts of “mother nature” and “the elements” of nature.
Whereas this would be a typical landscape…
See how difficult it can be to categorise your images?
When you process your images, make sure that when embedding the keywords and information, you cover yourself by using both keywords such as Nature and Landscape. Luckily, most agencies will allow you to place your images into as many as three categories so for the examples above:
Image 1 would go into “nature, landscapes and clouds/skies”
Image 2 would go into “landscapes, travel, sunsets/sunrises”
The prominent category being the first. More on keywording and adding information later.
Here is a typical nature shot taken at 500th/sec, f4.0, ISO 100 using a 70-200mm lens at 200mm (not even uploaded yet)!
This could be categorised in “wildlife and nature”, a third would be difficult to define unless they specifically had an “insect” category. You don’t have to add a third or indeed even a second.
So, let’s see how you do by categorising these images based on what we have learned so far…
Other nature images could include:
- Spiders webs in the morning mist with dew drops (added with a water spray ; )
- Salmon jumping out of the water
- Insects, leaves, plants, flowers and woodlands
- Pebbles, rocks and stones
- Interesting rock formations
- Birds, waves, trees etc
Some of those would also creep into the landscapes category…
Next Page – Landscapes