How to Photograph Exotic Animals in a Studio

In this video, Sandy Nicholson has some interesting models in his studio. An African Hornbill, a Flamingo, a Lynx, some hedgehogs, and two tortoises pose in front of his camera:

Taking pictures of exotic animals is the distant and slightly weirder cousin of pet photography. But don’t worry, most of the common pet photography guidelines still apply.

Here are some things to consider when photographing exotic animals:

  • Safety first! Try not to get into the position of injuring yourself when dealing with the animals. When in doubt, have the person responsible with the animals manipulate them. Photography will get a lot less practical if you lose your index finger.
  • Use flash strobes and dim the lights to make the environment as less stressful to the critter.
  • Get down to their level. This is a general guideline that also works great on kids and pets, and usually gets you crawling on your belly. Pretty ironic when photographing lizards.
  •  Use a telephoto lens to get close. Try to capture some of the unique details. A macro or close-up lens could prove to be really useful.
  •  Use a wide angle lens to capture unique perspectives.
  • Try to anticipate its behavior  This is often the key to photographing a great pose, action or situation. If a great opportunity passes by, it is quite likely that it is gone for good.


In previous news, a photographer got eaten by an alpaca.

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