Sorry for the lack of Blogs recently, I hope to get back into the swing of things with a variety of different blogs covering videos, time-lapses, choices for gear and some animal photography tips and tricks.
Today I'm just going to talk about a new series I'm start up called Animal Portraits. It's pretty simple, I've been taking heaps of photos of animals where they are in their 'traditional' pose or just posed as if they are ready for a studio photo shoot. I found them to be to 'standard' or boring to really post and share but have decided to turn it around and try some different compositions with them to create a modern look on the animals I encounter. The Animal Portrait series initially I thought would be of all animals but excluding birds because I thought bird portraits wouldn't be as exciting even if I composed it different to try and help grab attention. But after seeing one of my most recent images of a Brown Falcon (below) I changed my mind and decided to do it for all animals I encounter.
This was the changing image because it did exactly what I wanted it to, STAND OUT! It reminds me of a model posing for a serious or almost scary and powerful shot but also is different enough with the composition by cropping off the feet to make it stand out from the other bird shots I do.
"So the point of this new series is to capture animals looking as if they are in a studio for a portrait shoot like a model," you say. "Surely there has to be more to it than just changing the composition up slightly to make a good 'studio' animal portrait."
Well my answer is, yes ... yes there is. Foremost I think composition key. Composing the image in a different manner rather than just placing the subject in the center of the frame and making sure I'm not cutting off any feature, is frankly boring and has been done to death by every photographer in the world. Yes it is one of the key rules to photography to not cut off limbs or heads but rules are made to be broken.
The key to achieving this is by going against the norm and experimenting with different compositions whether that's through cropping the final image or preferably composing with it in mind before taking the shot. To achieve the final shot that I consider fits the 'Animal Portrait' series also has to have a smooth background, no or limited distractions in the image, direct eye contact with the camera and have even light across the whole subject. This means that I cannot use a photo of some bird in the middle of a shrub with half its face in sun and the rest of the body in shade because the light will be uneven and this is not found in portrait work. It will also have way to many distractions with leaves and branches all through the image with little to no subject separation to the background aka that blurry smooth background you see in photos.
Check out the images below: