Animals looking at the camera
It’s one thing to capture animals doing whatever animals do and a completely different thing to incapsulate that specific moment when they’re looking at you. When there’s a contact and you caught that. A contact between you and another breathing thing.
There’s some magic in here. Can you sense it? The time has frozen, you can feel in the trees, in the grass, in the posture of the animals. Everything’s static as they’re staring deeply into your eyes. Or camera. We can’t know what it is they’re staring into, but they have noticed you are there, pretty close to them. They’re observing you. For a singular moment everything is still.
But you see .. you wouldn’t have all this if they would be grazing. No. There would no tension in the air. It would be just another stock photograph available on the Internet to buy and use it in a campaign for the beauty of the countrylife. Or something.
However, the fact that they’ve stopped from what they were doing and looked in your direction has made your photo be really good. Not just okay, but really good. So, how do you approach the animals to produce such shots? Very easy, to be honest, since they’re easily scared and will look for movement when they hear the slightest little sound. Just walk around them.
Not to close, though. Not with sheep. You can walk really close to rabbits!
If they’re caged, that is, since they’re the most easily scared beings you could find at a farm.
You can see there’s a pattern now.
Last time we’ve talked about not letting yourself be seen by children, since they will start posing and you will lose their true nature. But here, it’s much like the other way around.
Let yourself be seen by animals, because there’s no way on earth you’re going to see a bunny posing, now will you. It will still be a natural state of things, except more mesmerizing. Like a visual magnet. They lure you in there, inside the cage, with them. You want to free them and pet them. There will be some emotional engagement. Okay, perhaps almost any picture of a bunny will likely trigger an emotion, that’s true, but why not go all the way and trigger all the emotion? See? Photography can be very manipulative if you know a few things. Depends on what you want the people to feel and how much you want them to feel that.
Unless there’s no pulse, because it’s hard not to feel softened when clicking on an image with cute fur balls, pink ears and big round eyes. It makes you want to save them, doesn’t it? Now, go use this perspective and make people save little creatures with your photography.
Oh and one more thing. A sad puppy slowly walking down a wooden bridge. Instant meltdown, 140 percent. Sadness in an animals will pretty much make everybody go “Aww!”. No exception.