April 19, 2011

Zoo Photography


1| First things first: Turn off your flash.

2| Second things second: You’ll want a lot of zoom.

Bring the longest lens you have. The longer, the better. And then remember to keep your shutter speed high enough to support that long lens. I brought a 70-200mm lens and adjusted my ISO to make sure I kept my shutter speed above 1/200 second.


3| The best time of day to shoot at the zoo? Morningtime.  Morning = fewer people & active animals.


4| Best time of day to shoot each individual animal?   FEEDING time!!


5| Utilize shallow DOF to your benefit. It’s advantageous to blur out backgrounds as well as foregrounds with fencing, rails, cages, mesh, etc.

6| When photographing through glass, get as close to the glass as possible. (Full disclosure: I used my 35mm lens and placed it right against the glass). Use a lens hood. Or cup your hand around your lens to lessen the intrusion of reflections/glare.


But don’t make ALL the reflections go away … some are quite cute!


7| When photographing through fencing/mesh/etc., again put your lens as close to it as possible. Again, use shallow DOF. Make sure you focus beyond the foreground to the animal. In some cases you can make the foreground disappear nearly entirely.


8| Just as with people portraits, go ahead and fill the frame.


9| Can’t get close enough to fill the frame properly? Feel free to crop, crop, and crop some more in your post processing!


10| Just as with people photography, focus on the eyes!


11| Just as with people, cloudy days are AWESOME. Like bringing a big, huge, light softbox with you. (not to mention, a nice, clean backdrop!)


12| Sometimes it can be fun to shoot the people.


And if your husband is looking at you adoringly, you should shoot that, too.
(The smiling Teen is a total bonus!!)


13| Remember that some pictures just scream to be converted to black & white.


Now, go to the zoo!  And take your camera. Smile

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