Farm Animal Pictures: How to Make Money With Each Click

10 Steps to Take the Best Pictures

by Rachel Porter

Farm animal pictures can be cute, but hobby farmers often need photos of their animals for selling, breeding, blogging, family photos and overall documenting ages and stages for record keeping. Sale barns are becoming antiquated for farmers looking to sell livestock. It is such a risk to haul and expose farm animals to so many unknown variables for an opportunity to sell a small quantity, usually at the lowest price. Online marketing on websites and posting to farm groups are quickly becoming the new mainstream for hobby farmers to connect with buyers, preserving health and dollars.

snuggling farm puppies

Good quality photos are worth the extra investment of time and intentionality because the difference between a good photo and a poor quality one can result in closing a deal or not. We live in a digital photo world. Learning to produce top-notch images is a great first impression for a sale. A great photo communicates that the sellers are detail-oriented, careful, intentional, transparent and trustworthy. 

Getting that shot can be very difficult, especially when dealing with unpredictable animals. Follow these tips whether you’re shooting with a phone or professional camera.

1. Lighting & Timing – The golden hour (the first hour after sunrise or the last hour before sunset), casts a warmer tint with the softest lighting. Soft lighting wraps around your subject, rather than overloading it with tons of light. Too much hard lighting will create dark shadows, which will be very hard to edit in your pictures.

2. Lighting Angles – When possible, shoot with the sun at your back. This is tricky because it causes the subject to stare into the sun, however, it gives your animal the best exposure to natural light.   

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3. Assess the Background – Focus on setting the scene before introducing the subject to the area. It would be very frustrating to get the animal’s attention and take a great shot just to learn you neglected to move unsightly obstacles in the background. Background problems to look out for are trees, branches, wires or any objects that may look as though they could block the shot or stick out at an awkward angle in the back.

4. Adjust your Camera – Whether you are shooting with a phone camera or a professional camera, do not shoot in manual focus mode, the motion from the animal will prove extremely challenging. Instead, use your camera’s autofocus mode to keep up with the action and get a sharp image. Make sure you know which subject you will be focusing on if there are multiple animals involved in the photo shoot. If you have the option to select Continuous Focus Mode, choose that feature.

5. Create a Plan Knowing Your Animal – Be aware of what time of day your animal is most cooperative. If you need to use food to motivate your livestock, consider a time when they are slightly hungry. They shouldn’t be starving or just recently fed.

farm animal picture with baby goats sleeping

6. Consider Animal Posture – Knowing your subject’s breed standard will help you decide what angles you want to take for their posing. Pay attention to their topline, loin, chest, underline and limbs making them all visible and positioned well.

7. Motion – Start furthest away from the animal. Move slowly and take a shot, step in, take a shot, step in, etc. You can always zoom in and edit later. 

8. Be Patient – Stress will wreak havoc in this situation. Allow the animal to explore its surroundings and be comfortable. Don’t force the animals, natural posing is always better. Just keep shooting, you can evaluate pictures later. Don’t risk missing the moment they look at the camera or hit their best stance.

9. Have a Few Tricks In the Bag – Be prepared to bark, moo, oink, grunt, whistle, sing or whatever it takes to alert the animal and get their attention. Treats might also need to be used. Have a few ideas of how you will pull their focus to get that shot. 

10. Edit – Even a crisp well-lit photo can stand to be edited. Editing photos can be as simple as choosing a filter on your phone. That extra push and color sharpness filters can add to the photo and create life in a shot, as opposed to dullness.

Taking farm animal pictures can prove very difficult. Keep your cool and follow these tips for the best possible scenario. As for the outtakes, those can be part of the fun.  

This article about taking farm animal pictures was written for Hobby Farms magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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