If you’re into photographing animals, you already know how difficult it is to take the perfect shot. It requires not only talent and killer equipment but also determination, patience, and an ounce of luck.
Working with reptiles could prove even more challenging as these creatures are known for moving fast. Some of them are even dangerous, so you need to be fast on your quest of being featured in the next National Geographic photography contest.
However, if you want to make sure you get the best results, there are some easy tips you can follow, even if you’re an amateur photographer.
Some of these creatures don’t have legs at all while others have small legs that don’t allow them to climb too high. Therefore, the easiest way to ensure you’ll get a good frame of them is to simply place your photography equipment as close as possible to the ground. Using tripods or drones won’t make too much of a difference either. However, getting the perfect shot also calls for you being on the ground and stretching your legs and hands to get a better frame of the reptile. Shooting from your regular eye-level simply won’t do the trick when it comes to these creatures!
Don’t trespass their natural habitat
One of the golden rules of animal photography is to blend in with the environment as much as possible and become invisible to the animals. Keep in mind that reptiles, especially snakes, are territorial creatures and won’t deal well with intruders. Therefore, the best way to adjust to their habits is to simply observe them in their natural habitat, without interfering with them. Finding the best terrarium to keep your snakes, chameleons or iguanas is the first step for gaining their trust. Make sure to study them closely in captivity before traveling to their natural environment to take pictures. In fact, with the right photography tricks and a bit of training, you can shoot amazing pictures of these reptiles without leaving the house.
Make use of the environment
One of the biggest mistakes most beginner photographers make is to focus solely on the subject. In their attempt to get the perfect picture, they often forget about all the other elements of the composition.
The environment is equally important as the subject, so make sure to include as much nature as possible when photographing reptiles. You can still get to focus on the reptile as your main subject but try to integrate as many natural elements in your frame as possible.
Earth colors will perfectly blend with the skin of your reptile and will contrast with the rest of nature – grass, flowers or any other natural elements you wish to decorate the cage of your pet with.
Tell a story
Another thing many people forget when shooting animals is that the subject must also tell a story. In order to capture this on your camera, you need to be patient and study the reptile for a few days. Observe every move and try to determine its patterns – when it sleeps, when it eats or when it relaxes.
When your subject will feel comfortable enough to let its guard down, you’ll have the chance to experience the real deal or life as it is. Forget about regular poses or framed pictures – they already exist and don’t bring anything new into the photography world.
Instead, you should focus on the little things and be patient. It may take days until you find something notable about the reptile’s habits and, meanwhile, you’ll get to work more on your composition, lighting, and colors.