As a professional photographer, I sometimes wonder about increasing my income and revenue through ways in which my presence isn’t necessary. Stock photos are a great way to do this, since I can sell each image multiple times for profit. It’s like selling prints, except I don’t have to worry about mailing or ordering.
When I want to take animal stock photos, I first look through the galleries to see which animals are needed. For instance, if the raccoons are missing from a stock site, I might go out in search of some raccoons at night. You’d find them in holes in trees, near creeks, and in dark parking lots where there may be food. I happened to stumble upon a family of three living in a tree; these types of images are unique since they’re so hard to find.
Another way to shoot great stock photos is to head to the zoo. Not all zoos have barriers in place that prevent you from seeing the animals clearly enough to take a photo. An example of a great zoo to take images at is the Akron/Canton Zoo in Ohio. You may have to shoot through glass, so be sure to bring a polarizer. However, you can get closer to these animals than you’d be able to in the wilderness, so this is a great way to get images of exotic animals, like parrots, tigers, capybaras, and others.
I always think that the best way to get animal shots is to be prepared. Carry your camera on you wherever you go. You never know when you’ll come across an Amish buggy with pristine examples of working horses. You might see an especially unique-colored frog at the park. Be sure to use a long lens with the ability to zoom. Animals can be skittish, so you’ll want to make sure you can get close without actually walking up to them.
For certain animals, you might think like a hunter. I’ve gone out to get photos of deer, for instance, so it’s helpful to know if you’re on a deer’s path or if deer live nearby. If you see them near a certain road commonly, set up there in the evening.
Animal tock photos need to be of a particular level to get accepted. You’ll want to be sure to take a technically-sound photo with clear lighting and a distinct image of the animal. If you can get an image in the day, be sure that the animal isn’t obscured by trees, bushes, or grasses. This will help the image be more valuable to customers who want to use it in graphic arts or on their Web sites.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-wild-horses-image1408129
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-three-funny-alpacas-image28638485
This post on shooting animal stock photography was written for your enjoyment and education by Clif Haley, a professional stock photography expert from Dreamstime.com.