Photography Tips

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Getting That Good Photo: Keeping Them Still

Live animals, especially reptiles, can be hard to photograph. They wiggle and slither and crawl out of your camera range faster than you can say, "Oh, hiss."

Here are a few tips for keeping them still for those precious few seconds you need to snap a picture. A brief trip to the fridge (and I do mean brief, no more than 8-10 minutes for large reptiles and 2-3 minutes for small ones) can slow them down enough to get a good picture. A brief drop in body temperature won't hurt them, but you'll need to put them back in a warm environment immediately afterwards, since prolonged cold can severely depress a reptile's immune system.

You can also put a bowl over the animal and wait a few minutes for it to settle down. Then lift the bowl, or have a friend do it, and snap your picture before the reptile orients itself enough to start moving away.

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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.