I was trying to achieve good DOF while focusing on the eye. I took this with a Canon Rebel Xt, with a 18-55mm (kit lens)
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One of the key things about photographing animals, much the same as photographing humans, is to get eye contact. Admittedly, that’s often more difficult to achieve with animals – but believe me, some humans make it difficult too! The second key thing is to make sure the eye (human or animal) is in focus.
Frank has done well here – not only is the lizard peeking at us, but the eye is also in sharp focus, well done!
We don’t know if this is a wild lizard (Frank tells us that he’s from one of the southern US states, so it could be), or if it is a pet. If it’s a pet then this sort of photo would be easier to do because the animal is used to humans. If it’s in the wild though, it’s more difficult because wild animals tend to be more timid.
The other thing that has made this a good photo is the shallow depth of field (DOF). Frank has purposely selected a wide aperture in order to get the foreground (in this case the lizard’s head) in sharp focus, but at the same time blurring the background.
This is important, because it draws the viewers’ eyes to the lizard. It makes part of the photo a specific focal point in the image. Click to read more about depth of field.
Are there any things I would change. Yes, just one main one. There is a lot of empty space at the top of the photo that could be cropped out. Not all of it, but enough to move the lizard’s eye up in the photo from its current position half way down the photo to one of the key focal points of the rule of thirds. Click here to read more about the rule of thirds.
All in all though, a very nice shot. Thanks Frank for the submission.
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Return to Digital photography tutorials - submissions, March 2008.