Zoo Without the Zoo
The only reason that you are taking pictures of the Bengal tigers at the zoo is that you can’t afford the plane ticket to go to India and take pictures of these animals in their natural habitat. And the only reason that you are taking pictures of the Polar bear at the zoo is that you don’t want to risk life and limb by coming within a few meters of these animals in Alaska. The zoo is a nice safe place to take pictures of animals. But the best pictures of zoo animals are those that don’t show the zoo. The fences, the bars, the cages, and other artificial structures of the zoo never fail to make the pictures ordinary. The animals, within the confines of fences, lose a significant part of their appeal. Fortunately, there are four strategies that can remove the zoo background from the pictures.
Three of these four strategies are done while taking the picture while the fourth is done on the computer when the picture is being edited.
Animals with distracting zoo backgrounds
1 - Use Your Zoom
Use your digital camera’s zoom capabilities. This is the easiest method to remove the zoo background. If you own a D-SLR camera, purchasing a telephoto lens will allow you to get even closer to the zoo animals, but keep in mind that telephoto lenses can be expensive.
Effect of Zoom
2 - Shallow Depth of Field
Reduce the camera’s depth of field. A large depth of field is excellent for taking landscapes pictures. A small or shallow depth of field is suitable for taking portraits and, of course, of animals in the zoo. The shallow depth of field will allow only a small light to enter the lens and this blurs the background of the zoo animal. When the background is blurred, it will be difficult to identify the zoo fence behind the zoo animals. One way to reduce the depth of field is to set the camera’s f-stop at its lowest number.
3 - Move and Get Creative
Don’t just stand and shoot. One of the most creative ways of removing the zoo background is to move around to get the best angle. It is also a good idea to get down on the knees and shoot from there. This will eliminate the higher structures of the zoo. And if the zoo photographer wouldn’t mind getting dirty, he or she can crouch really low and make the sky the background.
4 - When All Else Fails…Crop
Crop the pictures. If, after all the physical efforts and acrobatics, there are still evidences of the zoo, the only way to fix the pictures is to crop them. With digital cameras, cropping should be easy in any photo editing software.
In addition to the other informative articles in this series, further tips and techniques can be learned by reading: Animal Photography - Tips, Tricks and Techniques to Take Pictures You’ll Love
This post is part of the series: Taking Pictures at the Zoo - Tips and Techniques
There are several things you can do to prepare yourself for taking the best pictures at the zoo. This series will provide you with tips, tricks and techniques that will have your zoo photos look like snap shots taken directly from the wild.
- Portrait of the Zoo Photographer - What it Takes to be a Zoo Photographer
- Zoo Photography Professional Etiquette - Rules You Should Follow When Taking Pictures at The Zoo
- Safety in the Zoo - 3 Tips on Staying Safe When Visiting the Zoo
- Taking Pictures at The Zoo - Camera Equipment You Need to Have
- Taking Pictures at the Zoo - What Not to Bring
- 4 Tips on Taking the Best Pictures of Zoo Animals
- The Best Times to Take Pictures at The Zoo
- 4 Tips on How to Take Pictures Through Bars and Cages at The Zoo
- It’s Not All About The Animals - Taking Photos at The Zoo
- Tips on How to Take Pictures of Zoo Animals Through Glass