How To Take High Quality Pictures of Your Rabbits – Part 1

Tutorial: How To Take High-Quality Pictures of Your Rabbits – Part 1

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Photography.

It sounds like money, lots of technical words, and even more technical equipment! The word brings to mind, fancy cameras, tripods, and huge lens.

It just sounds daunting.

And it kinda is…IF you go the DLSR route. Nowadays some phone cameras are so good, you don’t really need a big ol’ camera to get high-quality pictures.

Today I’m answering the most common questions I get asked about rabbit photography. Let’s jump right in!

Cedar Point Rabbitry

First, let me introduce my baby – this is what I shoot with!

Meet my Nikon D7000, with a 28-80mm Sigma lens. A semi-pro camera, that is incredibly versatile.

Lots of options on this camera, but I generally shoot on manual – meaning I get to choose my shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focus point, etc, tailoring it to whatever setting I’m in.

It does have a full auto mode for beginners as well.

How do you get your pictures so SHARP?

  • Lighting
  • Shutter speed
  • ISO

Those are the three ‘big’ pieces to this puzzle. And they probably make no sense. Let’s start off with lighting because it’s easy.

The BEST lighting for pictures is either light shade or a bright, cloudy day. Bright, direct sunlight makes harsh shadows and tends to ‘wash out’ a rabbit’s colour. A dark room with synthetic lights also produces harsh lightning and makes pictures grainy. (This is where ISO comes in) ISO is basically where the camera adds light…but, it also makes the picture more grainy. Yes, it’s way more technical than that, but that’s good for now.

Never have a light source behind a rabbit. The best direction for light is over your shoulder or coming 3/4 onto the side/front of a rabbit. Just be sure your hand or head isn’t making shadows.

Shutter speed is how fast the camera takes the picture. Low light = slow shutter speed, which makes blurry, fuzzy pictures. Bright light = fast shutter speed, which makes crisp, sharp pictures.

Semi-harsh lighting:

See how Perfection’s colour is washed out, and there are harsh shadows starting on the right side of the picture? And the sun isn’t even completely out here, so just imagine everything harsher and washed out…not pretty!

Tutorial: how to take high quality pictures of your rabbits

Contrast:

Here’s another example. The cutie in the front is in shade – nice colour, etc. The other bun behind him is in sunlight. The colour is sort of off and doesn’t look as nice.

Tutorial: how to take high quality pictures of your rabbits

Good lighting:

And here’s Perfection on a bright, yet cloudy day. See, no harsh shadows, his colours are showing up beautifully, and the picture has a nice even light everywhere.

Holland Lop Rabbits, Ontario

 

What angles show conformation best? What pictures are best for advertising and cuteness?

Now for some examples:

  • Always shoot from the rabbit’s height.
  • Try not to shoot down at them.
  • Fill the picture with the rabbit – try not to have a distracting background.
  • If the rabbit is looking to the right, give him room to look that way – leave ‘white space’ for him to look into. (example below)
  • Keep the picture level.
  • Learn the rule of thirds (google is your best friend)

Tutorial: how to take high quality pictures of your rabbits
cedar point rabbitry
cedar point rabbitry

Looks odd, right? Wonder why?

Because the rabbit (meet Whimsical) is 1) not all the way in the picture, 2) the slopes on him are not balanced with the rest of the picture. To fix this, I would need to bring the camera down (to show his feet) and to the left (to balance the picture better) Take a look at the picture in the middle of the next row. It’s pretty much the same picture, I simply moved the camera.

White space:

Here Whimsical is looking to the left, so I gave him something to look into. See all the empty – or white – space to his left?

No white space:

Here I cropped that same picture to show what it looks like with no white space. One of the few times it works to have a picture like this is a side shot of a posed rabbit.


Headshots:

Nice headshots are hard to get. This one is nice and works well because Whimsical’s one ear is up, pointing to the upper right corner, while the other ear is pointing at the lower left. But, if the one ear was down, it wouldn’t look as nice. I would need to lower the camera and move it to the left.

Set up:

Another nice picture with white to the left, and a nice body shot. Having his eye visible is crucial to making this picture ‘work’.

Rule of Thirds:

Shot straight on, at their level, with white space to the left. The wood is level across the back, and this picture is divided into thirds both ways. (trees, wood across the back, wood floor) and (smutty orange bun, harli bun, wood) The rule of this is a great way to create beautiful pictures. Plus it’s easy to learn.

rabbit photography
Tutorial: how to take high quality pictures of your rabbits
Tutorial: how to take high quality pictures of your rabbits


When selling breeding stock, people want to see the following types of pictures: a front shot, a back shot, and a side shot. Any other shots are optional, but these three are standard and wanted by breeders. A 3/4 shot is also nice.

For pets, people want to see the rabbit’s eyes. They want pictures that show personality, where the rabbit looks happy and unafraid.

Front:

Three Quarter:

Side:

Back:


How do I get more natural pictures?

Let the rabbit relax. Have them in your picture area often, so it’s not a scary experience. Handle them often.

How do I get nicer pictures?

Start applying a few techniques listed above – start with one and practice, practice, practice!

How do you make the bunnies so cute?

I can’t take all the credit for that! They’re naturally adorable. But again, the things listed above are huge in creating beautiful pictures of cute rabbits.


Have a question that wasn’t answered? Or maybe more questions arose after reading this?

Comment below or send me an email! I will either answer personally or in a blog post.

Keep an eye out for Part 2!

Megan



How To Take High Quality Pictures of Your Rabbits – Part 1

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