Photographing Animals


When photographing animals there are important things to remember.

  • Always remember to be respectful of animals. Approach them with care and slowly. A large animal can be easily startled. Always be aware of your surroundings. Be safe for your sake and for that of the animal.

  • Always, always know about the animal you are photographing. Never place yourself in a situation where you or the animal will get hurt. All animals can be unpredicatible.

  • It is always helpful to know about the animals before you begin to shoot and be in tune to their mood. Each animal has their own personality. Each species has their own characteristics, for example, horses are prey animals and have eyes on the sides of their head to see danger from all angles, birds are very vocal, or pigs are very intelligent. Learn all you can about the animal’s personality and their species ahead of time.

  • Sometimes it’s not always possible because of skittish animal like a bird or an unsafe animal but whenever possible move with your feet instead of using the zoom. It makes for a more interactive and so a more expressive photo between yourself and the animal.

  • Try to not cut off hooves or feet. Either include them or frame the photo closer for a portrait photo.

  • Try to crouch down to the animal’s eye level rather shooting down. By taking a photo by standing over the animal you are placing yourself in a dominate position over them, instead of getting on their level one on one equally.

  • Never use flash. It may startle the animal and you will get weird coloring in their eyes, like green for cats.

  • Try focusing on the eyes. Catch lights (a bright point of light) in the eye are always wonderful to capture.

  • Watch for interactions. Either inter-species or with other species. The results can be intriguing and show much about an animal’s personality.

  • Watch for special moments. Photographing animals takes patience but the rewards are worth it.


    Here are some examples of animal photography to inspire!

    David Yarrow Reveals his Photography Secrets

    Incredible Animal Photography by Stefano Unterthiner

    Spectacular Animal Portraits by Steve Hoskins

    James Warwick Wildlife Photography

    Edgar Thissen Photography

    Fantastic Portraits of Farm Animals

    Finland’s Forest Animals in the Wild

    Soulful Beauty of Animals

    Fairytale-Like Horses

    14-Year-Old Wildlife Photographer