How To Take Great Animal Stock Photos

Animal stock photos are always in demand. Whether you are visiting a local zoo or taking photos of pets, capturing great animal photos to sell later can be pretty simple. 

What You'll Need:

  • Wide angle lens
  • Lens Hood
  • Tripod
  • Clean cloth

Step 1: Make a Day of It

When you are taking photos of animals, regardless of the situation, you need to plan to spend an entire day with this. Even at a zoo, you will have to be patient. The animals are going to do what they want, and can be unpredictable. If you limit yourself to a short amount of time, you may not end up with many good shots.

Step 2: Use Burst Mode

A sleeping animal can unexpectedly yawn or stretch and ruin your frame. On the other hand, if you treat the animals as moving objects and use a fast shutter speed on burst mode, you can capture the yawn, stretch or pounce on film. Using quick bursts will allow you to capture the slightest movement, and give you more choices for which photos will end up being sold as stock photos.

Step 3: Get Low

A photo of an animal taken from above while standing can make a great picture from a human perspective. For truly interesting shots, get down on the animals level. Taking the photo from their perspective will create a more intimate photo, and these are the photos that will sell faster.

Step 4: It's in the Eyes

Many have said before that the window to the soul is within the eyes. With animal photography, eyes are just as important as with portrait photography. Try to frame the photo so the eyes become the focal point. This will create a clear shot of the animal, and show them as more 'real' to the viewer.

Step 5: Dealing with Reflection

If you need to shoot animals at a zoo, dealing with annoying reflections can be a challenge. This is where having a lens hood comes in handy. It will help eliminate reflections from the sun, and will reduce the glare created when trying to shoot through glass. It's also helpful to carry a clean cloth in your camera bag to wipe away excess fingerprints that will be found on glass cages.

Step 6: Use the Tripod

Setting up a tripod will allow you to capture the animals natural movements without straining yourself. It may take quite a bit of time to get a great frame. The tripod allows you to keep the camera steady and just wait for the perfect photo.

Step 7: Rely on Editing

Good editing software is a must for any photographer who wants to sell his photos. You will need to be able to clean up, sharpen, adjust lighting and crop photos. When you are shooting animals, a lot of cropping may be necessary to rid distracting elements. If you had to throw a toy to get a dog to jump, you may not want the toy in air distracting from the dogs action in the photo. The same can be said if you were shooting photos at a zoo. Good editing software will allow you to eliminate the unwanted elements, and focus completely on the subject.