Taking pictures of animals at the zoo is a popular thing to do. However, trying to take a decent picture of an animal usually involves carrying around a big and bulky SLR camera with you. This can get annoying as you have to carry it with you all day long, and don’t always want to lug it around everywhere.
Here are 7 easy steps for taking prints of zoo animals:1) Find out what time of day the animals are active2) Find out what time of year the animals will be in front of a plain background3) Find out when the animals are being fed4) Find out what time of day the animals will be sleeping5) Find out how close you can get to the animal6) Use a wide angle lens7) Use flashFor more details on these steps, click here.”
Step 1: Prints are best taken on a sunny day when the animals are active. Too much shade or overcast may result in a poor quality print.
Step 2: It is best to avoid taking prints of sleeping or resting animals. There are exceptions, such as sloths and koalas (which sleep 16-18 hours per day), but as a general rule it is better to observe the animal for a few minutes before taking its picture. Since most animals at the zoo will be moving around, this should not be too hard.
Step 3: If you are going to take prints of an animal from a distance, it is better to use an SLR camera with zoom capabilities. Most point-and step-and shoot cameras do not have the capability for fine tuning photographs of moving objects.
Step 4: If you do not have access to an SLR camera, then it is best to use a telephoto lens with your point and shoot camera. The same applies here; if you do not have access to one, then you can simulate one by simply zooming in on your subject.
Step 5: Animals that are fast moving are harder to photograph because they will be harder to focus on and track with your lens. Therefore, it is recommended
For months I’ve been taking pictures of zoo animals (mostly) and creating art prints with them. I finally decided it was time to share what I’ve learned.
I’ve found that the process has been much more complicated than I expected, and has taken me longer than I thought it would. I have a number of lists of tips and tricks that I use every time I’m at the zoo.
Taken together, they should make your experience successful as well.
The photo above is one I took at the zoo of a lion. To get this photo, I needed to have the lion on a white background so that it would be easy to print. If you are interested in how to do that, here is what you do:
1. Go to the zoo and take lots of pictures.
2. Look for a distinctive feature that will make it easier to crop out later.
3. Find a way to get closer (without getting bitten!).
4. Take lots of shots from different angles and distances so that you can choose the best one later when you are home.
5. Pay attention to exposure, focus, etc., so that you can get a well-exposed shot even if you have to crop it later.
6. Take the picture!
7. Get home and start cropping!
1. Plan Your Shoot
What are you trying to accomplish? Is it simply to get a picture of your child next to the giraffe? Or is it to try and capture the moment, where their faces meet in an expression of shared joy? Do you want something funny or serious? Only you can answer these questions, as only you know what you hope to get out of the experience.
Step One: Location, Location, Location
You have probably already picked out your animal, but now it’s time to figure out where he/she will be. The best place to take photos is in a setting that lets your subject be at ease – this will result in better portraits. Think about how the animals would choose their own locations for eating or sleeping. Safari trails are great for viewing animals, but not so great for photo taking – keep this in mind and plan accordingly. If you’re lucky enough to have a polar bear in your zoo, don’t ask him to come indoors – he won’t do it. Polar bears need lots of space; they’re big and they like having lots of room. Same goes for hippos — they are happiest in the water. Giraffes love being on high ground; and tigers like a place with plenty of shade!
1. Buy yourself a good quality inkjet printer, preferably a Canon Pixma Pro-100 or a Canon Pixma Pro-10. These are two of the most popular printers used by professional photographers and because they are so widely used, you can find all sorts of information about them on the internet. There are other good brands of printers that will also work well for this project, but I’m recommending these two because they are easy to find in stores and online and they are less expensive than most other professional photo printers.
TIP: if you can’t afford to buy one of these printers new, check out your local Craigslist or Kijiji for someone who is selling one second hand.**
2. Buy yourself a couple of different brands of photo paper for the printer, such as Canon’s UltraChrome Photo Paper or Epson’s Exhibition Fiber Paper. Again, there are lots of other brands of photo paper out there but you should be able to find these at your local camera store or online without too much trouble. You’ll need to experiment with which kinds of paper work best with your printer so do some research first. For example, on the Canon Pixma Pro-100, I’ve found that certain kinds of Epson papers don’t always print very
Remember that the animals aren’t in their cages because they’re dangerous, but because they are wild. They might be sleeping, or cleaning themselves, or eating, or just staring out the bars at you. If you want to take a picture of an animal, don’t get your face right up to the cage. You’ll frighten it, and it’s not polite.
Treat them with respect. Don’t yell at them, don’t throw anything at them, don’t expect them to do tricks for you. One visitor shouted “Are you tired?” at a sleeping lioness; she woke up angry and swiped her claw through the bars in his direction. (He was okay.) If you have food, don’t throw it into their cages. It isn’t fair for them to have to fight each other for your leftovers, and besides they’re not used to having food thrown at them and may get confused or frightened.