Sunday, September 13, 2015


Today's subject should be divided into two parts:  Pet Photography and Wild animal photography.  Taking pictures of pets certainly has it's challenges, but, in some cases is fun, depending on the personality of the pet.  But, I had for some time, been a portrait photographer, and people used to bring their pets into our studio for pictures.  I learned that the customer wanted to capture the "personality" of their pets, but, once they got into the studio, it was much more difficult to capture that personality there.  I often remember that we have had dogs that as soon as you point something at them, like a camera, they thought you were pointing a gun at them or something bad, and they would go into some fetal position.  That was not what I wanted.  But, in the studio, I found that once we got the animal in position, if I made some kind of weird whistle sound, or some sound that would distract them, they would perk up their ears, tip their heads to their side, and "click" I got the perfect photo. 

Now, I will be honest, I don't think I could do that with a cat.  And cats are certainly as popular as dogs in the home.  But, their personality is of such that you can't just bring them into a studio and pose them, and tell them to sit (usually).  Cats just don't tolerate people so much, so the best advice, I think to get a great picture, or memory of your precious cat, is to catch them in the moment of their fun life.  They have their own personality, but, you can't generally get them to pose for you like you can  a dog.  So, try to get down to their level, kind of like you do children, and see if you can't get a picture of your cat doing something funny, something memorable.  That will be what you remember the most about your cat:

If  you have more than one kind of pet, or a few pets that interact together, again, get pictures of them interacting together.  I would find it impossible to bring them into a studio and get a serious photo of them.

But, don't forget to take pictures of your pets.  How many times have you heard that your pets are like your kids.  You will miss them when they are gone, so, get pictures of them in their best moments.


Now, Wildlife photography, is a different animal (pun intended).  To get real good at wildlife photography takes great patience, skill, lighting, and patience, and tenacity, and patience, and, oh, did I mention patience.  But, most of us will just take a quick snapshot of the wildlife that we see, rather than try to become professional at it.  So, I just want to give you a few good points to help you, maybe become aware of how to take real good wildlife photos, that might be something you could be more proud of.  I don't really count this as going to the zoo and taking pictures.  They are making zoos to look more like the animal's habitat, and that is great.  But, I am talking about being in the real wilderness, no bars, no people, in their real natural habitat. 

Number 1-  Do not get close to the wild animals, especially the ferocious ones.  You never know if they are going to be protecting a young one.  I live just one state away from Yellowstone National Park in the United States, and it is crazy to see how close people get to the wild animals, just to get the perfect picture.  And, we always here of some tourist who gets gored, or hurt, or even killed by an animal protecting his "space" by some tourist who just got too close.  My rule of thumb:  If you can see their teeth, you are too close:

Number 2:  If you can, get a telescopic lens, or telephoto lens, or zoom lens to get your picture.  This is not something you should be taking with your small snapshot camera or cell phone camera.  At least a close-up of an animal.  This type of photography is for the more serious photographer:

Number 3:  As I mentioned before, be patient, and wait for the perfect shot.  They don't pose for you, but, if you wait for the right moment, you will get the right shot.  So, if you want the photo that you will be proud of, wait, and look for the time when the animal moves or positions themselves for the right pose:


That's it for this this week.  I want to introduce you to a professional photographers web site that has made his living on taking pictures of nothing but wildlife and nature photographs.  His work is incredible, and is worth for you to look at.   Please go to:
And check out some real good photos and notice the type of equipment he uses, and the hard work he does in order to get that type of photos.  It is good stuff.


Don't you love the photos I find in this learning segment of my blog each Monday?  I think they are just some of the greatest photos.  But, remember on Thursday, I spend all week to try to find 5 of the photos that I find worthy to call the "PHOTOS OF THE WEEK".  So, look for that to be published on my blog each Thursday as well.  


My subject for next Monday:  Action Photography.  How to take pictures of things that are moving fast or show a lot of action.  Sports photography will be included in this, as that is where this falls.  See you next week. 

Lanny Cottrell

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