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Dash of Inspiration – August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011

A Dash of Inspiration…A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Amazing Animal Photography

Animals of all kinds have inspired artists and photographers since the beginning of time.  For some these wonderful creatures are rendered with such realism that they come to life before your very eyes; for others the whimsical, silly and comical side of animals is brilliantly portrayed. So what makes great animal imagery?

A mood and/or expression is important when capturing an animal, this gives the photograph, painting or illustration life.  The image has to express character, through action or expression.  Animals are living beings, so they have to speak to the viewer in some way.  That can be serious or funny, sad or happy, subtle or powerful…but it has to be a part of the overall imagery.  Those who paint and illustrate animals have much more freedom to portray these creatures in a variety of wacky and whimsical ways than does the photographer.

Because photography is based in realism, the technical aspects of the photograph are as critically viewed as the subject itself.  Color is critical.  I see far too many purple gorillas and black bears in animal photography and it’s disturbing.  If you are selling the shot in full color, then get the color right!  If you are offering the photograph as a black and white, then get proper tonal values. When the animal’s eyes are visible in a photograph they need to be in sharply focused, clear and vivid.  Many great animal photographs are ruined because of these five things:

  • Sharp focus is on their neck not their eyes. Rule is Nose and Eyes MUST BE in focus
  •  Eyes are muddy therefore don’t have nice clarity and depth
  • Flash/red-eye; whether it’s yellow, green or red…its all bad flash eye and unacceptable as a marketable photograph.
  • Color cast and/or poor tonal values.  Animal photography has to be realistic!  Great color and if in grayscale then the range needs to go from rich blacks to bright white.
  •  Important elements are cutoff due to poor composition, i.e. ears, paws, etc…

From the Stray Muses (TM) A Language Unspoken Collection by Doreen Erhardt

All of the above can take the life out of the animal and render the photograph unmarketable.  Enjoy these links to the Infinity Art Gallery Animal Art Exhibit Finalists and this one from our friends at Noupe “If Animals Were Models”.  For anyone who missed it; Peggy Mundell – Photographing Pets article is wonderful.  I’ve also included a link to Get the Red Out! for tips on photographing eyes and avoiding red-eye, as well as a Photoshop tutorial to remove red eye in your digital darkroom.

No excuses now!  Go create brilliant animal imagery for your greeting cards!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2011 2:29 pm

    Guess no one was inspired…hahaha! I thought the “If Animals were Models” was adorable…oh well!

  2. August 16, 2011 6:59 pm

    Pets, especially dogs, are hot subject matters on GCU across all occasions so when done with care and creativity sales are to be had! Shoppers love to find their favorite breeds so important for artists to note the breed in the title and keywords.

  3. August 17, 2011 12:32 am

    Oh, not true Doreen! One could say that I got so inspired we went out and adopted a kitten today… we get to bring her home one week today and we are so excited! So, there shall be countless opportunities to put these tips and inspiration to good use.

    Thank you for all the time and energy you put into everything you do and share.
    May your generosity return to you in a myriad of ways.
    Best wishes always,

    P.S. I’m glad you also included a card from your Stray Muses book.
    May all homeless creatures find their loving home as soon as possible.

    • August 17, 2011 1:45 am

      Sri…now that’s what I call inspiration…LOL!! CONGRATULATIONS on your new bundle of purring fur! I can’t wait to see pictures!

      And a whole week to prepare! How exciting!! I can see your shopping list already! BTW: In case you didn’t know, kittens usually do not respond to catnip until they are nearly 1-year-old so save your money there and introduce those catnip mice on their birthday!

      Good luck! Share lots of pictures please 🙂

  4. August 17, 2011 2:16 am

    Thank you so much Doreen, isn’t this just the best thing, a new bundle of purring fur.
    Truly, all the animal lovers, like yourself, at GCU have inspired this decision.
    Will definitely share lots of pictures, even when I haven’t purrfected the technique yet!
    In gratitude,
    P.S. Thanks for the catnip tip, one thing less for the shopping list!

  5. March 29, 2013 4:17 pm

    In the article, there is a link to Get the Red Out and that link has been moved to here:

    Sorry for the inconvenience!

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