Reptile Forums banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
881 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
thanks to Ryan aka TopNochBpas



As many of you know, Ryan is not only our resident genetics guru he is also our photo expert too and had made this post about how to take good photos of snakes. I always refer to this writeup for my own picture taking skills and send other people to it as well. I made it a sticky so we can always find it. I hope to find a few other of Ryan's posts to attach to this one as he has made many on this subject.



How to Take Photos of Snakes
By Ryan (TopNotchBoas)

First off I would highly reccomend a budget DSLR. Why? Because theyre fast, accurate, and easily "tunable". The newer models are also very user friendly. The downside to a DSLR is the size of the camera. You are not going to get a pocket sized camera in a DSLR. If you are looking for something small - pick out a non-dslr model. I honestly cannot help you in that regard because I do not research that type of camera nor am I up to date. For a budget DSLR model I would reccomend the Nikon D40. The reason being, I have worked with Nikon cameras for many years and have first hand experience with their reliability and picture quality. Although, from what I have read you can't go wrong with a Canon either.
After getting a D40, you can expand by getting white balance cards, external flashes, etc, if you so choose. Or you can just "point and shoot" and take what you get. You will get very good results with a DSLR even without the extra accessories.
Like Jeff said, knowing how to operate your camera equipment is much of the battle. Secondly is the positioning of your subject. You control that by getting the snake to be in a compact form and changing your angles to get different areas of the snake.
I like to get basicly 3 full body angles - 1. a total side shot (or as low as I can go). Here is an example of that:

2. A slightly slanted shot that shows partial side/partial top. Example:

3. An overhead shot, that shows primarily the top. Example:

I then like to get close ups on specific areas. Those areas are generally side body color, headshots, tail shots, and saddle shots. Although I havent gotten a whole lot of these type closeups lately because I've been shooting primarily neonates. Because they are so small I really need a macro lens to get very good very close shots. Here is an example of one the recent tail shots I got though (same boa as pictured above).

I'd like to make a point regarding whether or not "photoshopping" is "right". Put it this way, if you are photoshopping to make the shot more accurate to the truth, then its certainly legitimate. If you are photoshopping to distort the truth (ie make the snake look better than it really does) then it is wrong. I certainly agree with you there. Let me tell you what my "photoshopping" consists of, I used parenthesis in that term "photoshopping" because its universally recognized as a term for post processing of digital pictures. I actually use a Nikon based program called Nikon Capture. What I do in that program is white balance calibration, cropping, sometimes slight lightening or darkening, resizing, and sharpening. 1. White balance is done using a "grey card", in which I take a picture of the card in the lighting scenario, then later calibrate every shot to that standard. This ensures every shot is as accurate as can be in regards to white balance. Cameras have to "guess" the best white balance, and they are wrong, to some degree, almost all the time. Some cameras do better with auto white balance than others. I also crop, pretty much every shot, because its just about impossible, or at least impractical, to get each shot framed up exactly the way I want it (evenly spaced from the edges with the right amount of background to subject ratio). I adjust exposure (lightness/darkness) because sometimes the shots are just slightly off in that regard, so I bring them back closer to an accurate portrayal of reality. I then resize, for posting on the internet. And then sharpen, because resizing dulls photos out. All of the work I just described I do with a RAW file (nikon's version is called an NEF file, different camera makes have slightly different versions, theres no standard as of now). Using a RAW file allows you more accurate control in post processing and I highly reccomend it for anyone that wants to take the time to get the best photos possible. Here are a couple of links I just found via a yahoo search (I used to know of a better one that I sent Jeff a ways back, but I cannot find it, but these have good info as well).
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...awtruth1.shtml
Learn about RAW, JPEG, and TIFF with the digital photography experts at Photo.net.
Anyway, hope this helps. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
Interesting and helpful post. Do you convert to sRGB when shooting for web viewing?
John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,555 Posts
very nice write up

time to go practice taking some pics now
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top