Wildlife Week: Connect

May 26th, 2010 by Juan Pons

Copperhead Snake, Chatham County, NC

I don’t often hear many people talk about connecting with your subject when shooting wildlife, after all how can a human connect with an animal, right?

Well, I can tell you categorically that yes you can connect with your animal subjects, but more importantly you want your viewers to connect with the subjects in your photos.

Here are a few tips on creating a connection between your photos subject and viewer:

  • A Different Perspective – I review quite a few images from amateur wildlife photographers asking for feedback on their work. And I have to tell you that the biggest mistake I see people make is photographing an animal from standing height, usually looking down at the animal. This, in my opinion, is the quickest way to make an otherwise spectacular subject look rather ordinary. The reason for this is that as humans we are used to seen the world from standing height, when you create an image that provides a different perspective, a different point-of-view if you will, you are providing your viewer something different to look at.
  • Eye Level – To make a connection, you need to be looking at your subject at eye level. So get down, lie on your belly if you must. I’ve been known to lie down and crawl on geese poop for hours to get down low enough to connect at eye level with my subjects. An added benefit to this, is that animals will see you as less threatening when you are at eye level to them.
  • The Right Pose – Capturing your subject at the right pose is key to presenting them in as favorable way as possible. Additionally the right pose should present your subject in as a natural state as possible. 

I hope these few tips help you in creating a stronger connection with your subjects.

Nutria (invasive species), Lake Mattamuskeet, NC

Keep up with Juan on The Digital Photo Experience and learn about Juan's workshops at Wild Nature Tours.




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