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hey guys :)
was just after a few tips for taking some more "classy" pictures of the mice for our website. my mum has a really good newish out lumix camera so thats not a problem, its more of the lighting and what background colour/texture to use that im struggling with x

also if ur using material or whatever do u just sit them there and keep takin pics til u get a nice one or do u have a built up thing like a box or something they can sit in or on x

apologies if none of this makes sense lol ;)
 

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rightho! I've actually recently ritten an article about getting the most of your pictures, I'll copy it onto here, only thing is, i used guinea pigs as the subjects, but the techinique really is no different to what I'd use on mice....

Photographs, they're everywhere these days, and everyone always wants to see more! They are good for treasuring memories, and just generally showing something to other people that won't get to see the real thing. Or for many of us cavy keepers, seeing a new pig for the first time, or maybe to ask for opinions.

I am a keen photographer, very keen in fact. I got my first DSLR (big posh profession camera) at the Harrogate show in 2009, and since figuring out all the buttons, settings and lightings, I think I've come a long way. For any in the know who want to know more, my camera is a Canon 350D Digital. For the time being, at least while I am typing up this article, I only have a kit lens, which isn't good for an awful lot, but it serves me well. My trusty camera was 3rd hand from a good friend.

Down to the dirty business, I am going to attempt to give you all a few tips on how to take the best photos you can with what's available. And of course I am talking about animals here! It's easier than you think, I'm sure... I'll obviously use cavies as my subject.

Number One - Eye Level
The best tip I can give is to get level with the pig. Of course if you need an overall view for opinions, an aerial shot is needed too, but for general purposes, getting down level with the pig gives the viewer a personal link with the pig and without knowing exactly why, makes the photo 'work'.

Number Two - In Focus
Focusing modern cameras is easy! They are built in with automatic focusing on a point usually in the middle of the viewfinder or screen. A good tip is not to set up the photo as you want it to come out, but point the middle, where it is going to focus, on the head of the pig, usually the eyes, and half press the shutter button (the one that takes the photo).If the camera has focused correctly, there is usually something to say this, normally it will be that the focus area will turn green, but don't press the button fully down yet! This is the trick, keeping your finger half pressed on the shutter, move the camera sideways (not back or forward, as this would take it out of focus, as the focus works on a depth perception filter) and put the camera into the position you would like the photo to come out as. When you have found your position, press the shutter button all the way down.
The hard part in this is doing all that while the pig is still sitting still! But keep trying, and you'll get the hang of this method and be able to move into position much more quickly.

Number Three - Background
Okay, it isn't essential, but it helps right? Cameras do have their faults, and very often one of them is that the colour doesn't come out right. The answer could be the background. A cluttered background is fine; after all, most people are just after snaps. But if you want something a bit more than a snap, choosing the right colour as a background really is a must. For example, you don't put a Chocolate on a black or brown, or for that matter, any dark background. Simple reason: you won't see the guinea pig! With the correct lighting this may not be true, but the average person doesn't have a photography studio with surround lights.
To sum that up, try not to use a background that is roughly the same colour as the cavy! White is usually a really good one to go for, as the camera can quite easily spot what white is, and the rest of the photo will comply with that, trust me on this. The good thing about white is even if you have a pig which is white, or has any white on it, somehow it seems to work (it's to do with shadows). However a good colour for a white pig is blue if you're not convinced!
Generally though, try different colours if you're really that fussed, and see what shows off your cavies best!
*set up of the background is usually on a chair or a surface where you can drape something over the back and onto something else so that the cavy can sit on the material and the rest of it can be hung from behind them. (making an L shape with the BG)

Number Four - Don't Stress
Sometimes things don't work out, pigs never stay still and they never look at the camera, but hey, some of them just are not photogenic! If you can't get them to sit still, give them a bit of time and let them be, quite often they will settle into their own little space and you have to take your photo around them. No one wants a stressed out cavy or keeper! If you have really had enough and it's not happening, try again later.


Hopefully you can apply all that to mice!!

Violet x
 

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one thing I didn't put Leigh was lighting......it's essential too if you want good pics because if the cam can't gather enough light, the pics come out all blurry, so if you're doing it inside, either get the flash on, or set up a couple of lamps around your "set" to provide as much light as you can offer.

I might do a comparision where you can see what I mean, if your interested?

Vi x
 

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Just for you Leah!

pic taken without flash and without proper light...is exposed to the correct light levels, but the shutter speed is far too low for having to bring in enough light. hence blurring


pic taken juust with on board flash....is exposed correctly, and had to have the shutter oppen for much much less time, hence reduced blurring


Pic taken with a desk lamp present, you can see that although still blurring, it's not quite as blurred as no (extra) light. I could have added lots more lights, or a more powerful light and the blurring would be non-existant, but I didn't have any other lights at hand!! but it's helpful just to see the improvement a little bit more light has.


and finally, I used a lamp AND the flash, no blurring at all.


(i know i havn't set the colours right, but i was only faffing about ;) )
Then I decided to put my flash gun on - which i appriciate you wont have! - and decided to show you what you can get with a bit of tweeking your controls on the cam....


All pics are unedited to show you the pure results!! but give them a bit of an edit and......(for my own tweeked settings pic)...though I have to say, in this example, i think i like the original!!


Hope that's helpful!

Vi x
 

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I bought my first digital camera mainly for taking pix of my meeces, and I've never regretted it. It has a feature you can use in automatic mode that makes it easy to take pix of meeces; the symbol is a stylized flower, and it automatically focuses on the most prominent thing in the frame. Exposure is automatic, so all you need to do is select a place with fair ambient light and that combined with the flash gives pretty good results. My cam has zoom (most or all digis do, I guess) and you can take closeups, but you have to have either a very steady hand or a tripod to get something that's not blurry.

With digital, you can take as many pix as you want and pick the best ones to show off.
 

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it's called the Macro button moustress ;), it focuses on the closest point in the frame, as macro is normally used for small things, and so it works very well for mice!

All cams have auto exposure and stuff, what I was trying to say that, if your in low light levels, the auto will set the shutter far too low, to let in the light it needs. Which is why indoors you either need to ad MUCH more light, or a flash.

Vi x
 

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Rule No 1. - Make sure you get the mouse to say "cheese" :D

Normally I take a whole heap of photos in macro setting and pick the best one. I used to breed bettas, it's much the same principal but wih bettas you need to consider flashback from the glass. With mice it's quick sudden movements that are your greatest challange, or lens sniffing....I have lots of blurry shots of mouse noses LOL.
 

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If you use a piece of black and white cloth, the camera will often be able to focus better because it "knows" those two extremes in color. For example, here are some of my mice on the cloth I have:

 

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Vi that's all really brilliant stuff, like you I just LOVE taking pictures of my animals and the only advice I could offer with regards to "light" is take them outside, I photograph the majority of my adult mice outside no replacement for decent daylight ;)

The babies I just photograph in their nest from the top but adults I tend to hold in one hand and photograph with them other, they are quite happy to climb all over my hand on an extended arm for quite a while offering various angles :D
 

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Jack Garcia said:
If you use a piece of black and white cloth, the camera will often be able to focus better because it "knows" those two extremes in color.
VERY TRUE! sorta slipped my mind because I was in photographer mode.....and that mean messy BG, but yes that definatly works, the cam can recognise black and white quite easily, especially if they are put together.

Thanks Naomi :) Someone asked me to write an article, and I couldn't think what to write so I decided "what do I like doing?" suddenly came to me that I clove taking pics!

Vi x
 
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