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Photographing Feet , Hooves , Claws and Paws

Updated on October 7, 2013
public domain
public domain | Source

Feet, hooves, claws and paws is simply a photographic project where the photographer records images of animal's appendages that are used in movement; how the subject walks, without including more parts or more detail than it's necessary of the subject which by doing so will in turn reveal the owner of the feet, hooves, claws or paws to an audience.

The project can be even better if afterward the entire subject is photographed sans their feet, hooves or paws and then used in a presentation format which includes both sets of images. This makes the format interesting and fun for an audience since they inevitably start to pair up the images of the subjects with their respective body parts and it usually keeps them engaged with the images much longer which in turn serves to engrave your name in their minds.

Your main photographic arsenal should include a long lens that can let you focus in close to the body parts and allows you to crop the image. Keep in mind that including too much detail of the rest of the body part will make it too easy for an audience to identify its owner and therefore takes the intrigue out of the picture. One of the main points of any photograph is to capture an audience 's gaze and keep then interested in your image for more than 10 seconds.

Magazine publishers main objective is even more apparent since their principal goal is for you to open the publication and look at the images which in turn makes your read the article and inevitably look at the adds. So anything that keeps an audience longer at a particular article or image is what they are after.

Better images are achieved if the feet are recorded while in motion yet frozen in stride but photos of the feet while the subject is standing still work well too and are much easier to record. Try to avoid those images of feet that are just too obvious to anyone who sees them such as those of ducks or elephants. Images of both these subjects are too widely photographed to make effective subjects for this particular project.

Nature offers you a wide array of suitable subjects as so can a zoo environment although in a zoo most of the subjects will probably not be running around but rather laying at rest. Contact the zoo administration for special viewing times when the animals are more apt to be active. Most zoos have designated times for photo projects and special guests.

Consider joining a local nature conservancy association or become a zoo member as this will sometimes give you special access to viewing times which are generally not available to the general public.

Off course not to forget are your pets. They are easier to photograph since they are used o you and they will usually have more patience for you and your camera.

Other body parts can also be incorporated in the project to aid in the identification of the main subject but do this sparingly. There are many children publications which regularly publish images like these alongside some sort of article or game solely designed for their kid readers. Parents are always willing to buy any such published material so long as it has their children reading and involved.

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Public domain image | Source
Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) | Source

Images meant for this project and for almost any photography project must be sharp in their recording and presentation of detail, with a good compositional elements and attractive perspective as well as also being appealing to the eye.

Images which meet these requirements are good candidates to be submitted to photographic stock houses, specialized publications, general publications, including general photography ones and sometimes to fine art galleries.

Consider doing free work for smaller agencies, localized publications and your local community as a way of gathering a reputation and becoming known. There is no better advertising medium than word of mouth plus it's more efficient at garnishing new clientele.

A good technique is to undertake a photo project and use the images in a fund raising event for any of the many non profit community agencies which are abundant at most major cities.

These offer the opportunity of attracting may prominent members of the community which support these organizations as well as many local media outlets keen on covering these affairs.

However make sure that in return for your work, time and effort your name & contact information is prominently displayed at the venue and off course on your prints. It also helps if public service announcements are distributed to the local media ahead of time.

This also allows others to serve as a critical body from which you can gather useful information, ideas and the ability to gauge what images are good and which are not so good and from here you can begin to hone and polish your photographic skills accordingly.

If a small and friendly audience does not find your work to be good or lacking in something, national markets, publishers and critics will not either and they are more than likely to be even more critical even brutal when assessing your work.


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    • buddy2blogger profile image

      buddy2blogger 6 years ago

      Excellent concept Luis !

      I am a big fan of Nature, especially Mountain Gorillas and Grizzly Bears.


    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      melovy: Thank you

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

      These photos are really interesting. I found the one with the horses running hooves to be particularly atmospheric. I’ve never thought of taking animal’s feet, though in my student days my flatmates and I took photos of our own feet - I think we probably didn’t have enough to do some Sunday afternoon! Oh for those days…

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      FloraBreenRobinson: Thank you, go ahead and try it out, you might be surpirsed

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Cardisa: Thank you, almost anything and everything has been photographed so the challenge is to find new ways of photographing the same subjects

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      I've never thought of just photographing my cat's paw. hmm.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      This is beautiful, I love animals. You always come up with something unusual for us to experiment with.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      vperry: Thank you. Feel free to use any of my materials in your class or site, just post the credit

    • profile image

      vperry 6 years ago

      Awesome hub!

      I write for a site that is educational. One of the channels I write for is the photography channel. The photographs of various animal appendages is interesting. Great hub. Thanks for sharing! Voted up.