Zoo photography: how to photograph animals at the zoo

How to photograph animals at the zoo: Zoo photography

Apart from doing photography work I normally do, portrait photography and events, I also enjoy going to zoos.
Getting the good photos in a zoo is something I see a lot of people struggle with. So I’ve set out to write a book about photographing animals at zoos, aquariums and parks and so on.

Zoo photography

Zoo photography
(den Lille Dyrehagen – the Small Zoo)

Do you have any questions about zoo photographing?

Don’t hesitate to send me an email or put your question below if you have any questions or suggestions on topics you wonder about or think others will want to know.


Some of the topic I’ve put in my draft (not complete list)

  • What equipment is required
  • Camera settings
  • Camera technique
  • What other things to bring
  • Planning
  • Zoo resources online
  • What time of day and year
  • Legal issues
  • etc

    zoo photography

    Bring not only camera for your day at the zoo, but some food too.

zoo photography

If possible put the lens inside the fence, but be aware of danger, like the electric wire here πŸ™‚


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Sexy Latvian Models: Nicolette A – Kindle ebook

Sexy Latvian Models: Nicolette – Kindle ebook

On Amazon now is my second book in the series of short photo ebooks: Sexy Latvian Models

There are a few previously unpublished photos of Nicolette A in addition to the ones I’ve published before.

Sexy Latvian Models: Nicolette A

Sexy Latvian Models: Nicolette A


Listed under these different regions of Amazon

For Amazon.com

For Amazon.co.uk

For Amazon.de

For Amazon.fr

For Amazon.es

For Amazon.it

For Amazon.com.br

For Amazon.ca

For Amazon.com.au

For Amazon.com.mx

For Amazon.nl

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Sexy Latvian Models: Mira – Kindle ebook

Sexy Latvian Models: Mira – Kindle ebook

On Amazon now is a first in a series of short photo ebooks
I do know the tittle (Sexy Latvian Models: Mira) is way more than a bit cheesy and cheap, but have to play the game…

There are a few previously unpublished photos of Mira in addition to the ones I’ve published before.




Sexy Latvian Models: Mira

Sexy Latvian Models: Mira

Listed under these different regions of Amazon

For Amazon.com

For Amazon.co.uk

For Amazon.de

For Amazon.fr

For Amazon.es

For Amazon.it

For Amazon.com.br

For Amazon.ca

For Amazon.com.au

For Amazon.com.mx

For Amazon.nl

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“I should bring a model here” – photo vacation trip

“I should bring a model here” – photo vacation trip

The last couple of years I have repeatedly thought to myself “I should bring a model here” when I’ve been traveling on vacation or just a regular work related trips.
A few years ago I told myself to take more chances and follow my crazy ideas, that combined with a very supportive wife, things happen πŸ™‚

A few days ago I asked my wife “how about you, I and a model travel to the Canary islands in February? We could rent a car and drive around shooting and relax at the beach and so on?”
Wife looked at me and asked “who do you have in mind?”
Sinba” I replied.
Wife thought this over for the tiniest second and then nodded and said “yes, that sounds like a good idea. Do you think she wants to?”

She did want to join us on this photography vacation trip. She said she was going to start packing already πŸ™‚

It was a bit of a puzzle to find a place where I could get planes to co-ordinate, but I found out that the most suitable place was to go to Gran Canaria, were wife and I have been once before, in 2012. That is actually 2 cameras ago… The photos shown here are from that trip and they were shot with a Nikon D5100.
Roque Bentayga

We didn’t travel that much when we were there last, just a tourist buss trip, this time I will rent a car so we can get around a bit.
I will not plan everything down to detail about where we’ll go, but I do some research. Apart from the obvious shots near and on beaches there were quite a lot of interesting landscapes and nature that I think will work our really nice as a setting.

El Faro, Maspalomas #302

El Faro, Maspalomas

Meloneras #303


wife and palm tree #307

wife and palm tree

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“Can I re-edit and post photos of yours”

"Can I re-edit and post photos of yours"

Photo in question. Model: Lin Mars

I have been asked a few times by painters and illustrators if they could use my work as inspiration for some of their work. Today a photographer contacted me and asked me this question:


I have re-processed one of your images, I would like to publish to share with you, for your comments and feedback. Can I have your permission to share one image ? – I will pass you my edited version – for you to add to your profile, if you want. Thanks and you have a Great Portfolio… πŸ™‚

My reply to “Can I re-edit and post photos of yours”

Hi!Β  Actually I do mind. As soon as I saw this background I wanted to shoot the model (Lin Mars) in front of it. I have given permission to a few painters and illustrators over the years to make their versions of my photographs, but I’m not OK with photographers doing that.
If I or you see a photo or a painting by someone else and we bring parts of that into the work we do our selves that is perfectly fine and natural, but I’m not ok with anyone doing anything with my photos and then publish it.
Hope you don’t feel I’m difficult, but we all have our own quirks πŸ™‚

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any bad feelings about the the person that asked me this. Fair question, asked very politely and a lot of people are fine with this, but I’m not.
Later on he he responded by asking if he could e-mail his version. I didn’t think what he did to the image had any benefits and I really don’t care too much about exercises like this. I do know that quite a few do like this way to improve ones skill and to get a different opinion. What I feel I can get a lot of information is when I work alongside another photographer and then have a look at what a slight, or large, different point-of-view or angle does to the image. Those crucial decisions in the field or in a studio have given me quite a few eye openers.

What are your views on this? Think I’m a bit difficult?

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Location portrait photography

Location portrait photography vs studio portrait photography

Advantages of Location based vs Studio based photography

Advantages of location based portrait photography

  • unique looks, but does demand one search out new locations or use them in different ways / angles
  • easier for client or model to relax. An empty studio with few, if any, things to interact with can be a bit intimidating
  • the light outdoor can give one a lot variation to the results, all depending on the time of day, season and weather
  • the cost. If one does not have a studio freely available, then there is the advantage of don’t have to pay to rent a studio
  • unexpected sets (can of course also be an disadvantage, if sets are not as expected)*
  • Locations can add interesting structure or provide “natural” props*

Advantages of studio based portrait photography

  • control of light is much easier in a studio and if one really know what look one wants, then studio is a very good choice as everything can be controlled
  • weather is not a factor one needs to take into consideration
  • privacy is not an issue if one works in a studio. Not everyone feel comfortable if a lot of people stare at them, so being indoors can help
  • no need to drag all equipment with you. If you have a lot of lenses and props you want to use in a shoot or not quite sure what to use, it can be a bit difficult to leave something behind
  • shorter way*

* = expanded based on feedback πŸ™‚

I do spend quite a lot of time doing location scouting. What I normally look for is somewhere with a new, distinctive look, as secluded as possible, but not too far to walk. I do have a lot of equipment at times and the client or model also often bring with them a number of items, change of outfits, make-up, water etc.

Some examples of location portrait photography

Here is the place the example photos were taken. I’ve used this spot quite a lot last few years.
It’s not too far from where I live and it’s very close to the main road, but quite secluded in the summer time. Only negative with this place is that it is quite cold as it’s shaded by the mountains most of the day.

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Behave people!

I find that people, in general, are behaving as one should expect, but not everyone are always on their best behavior.
I’m very liberal, but I do not accept disrespectful attitude or language towards anyone I photograph. I will block, report, notify the proper authorities or even worse: tell your mom.

I can live with people going after me, but do not tolerate people that behave badly towards “my” models.

I truly admire them and hold the models I have worked with in the highest regard, and will not allow idiots to pester them then on any of the social sites I post my work or if I can help any other places.

This isn’t a huge problem, but I do believe we shouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior.
Can’t say it better than Prof. Brian Cox

β€œThe problem with today’s world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it.

The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!”

Some things are better left unsaid, don’t be like this idiot (btw, no wonder he is listed as Single”)

Don't be this guy. BehaveIf anyone see any comments that are posted next to any of my photos please don’t hesitate to notify me, sometimes there are a lot of comments and I might miss a comment.


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Do you mind watermarks on photos or should photographers avoid them?

I have personally been a bit on and off on the question, but I’ve started to use them again. My main reason now might not be the same reason that most photographers might choose to use it; image theft. My main reason for start using watermarks again is lack of credit from some models or other photographers. Some models shoot a lot and I presume not every photographer have same demands that I do, so instead of being irritated over the lack of credits, I think I’ll restart posting and giving copies to the models I’ve worked with with watermarks.

I do realize, to my sadness…., that the world doesn’t revolve around me, so some might forget the talk we had about the use of my images and the model release which clearly states how my photos might be used. That being said, most models do play nice and a few go way above, and naturally those are the ones I tend to ask again and again for shoots πŸ™‚

I don’t want to cover the whole photo with a large watermark, just putting one that is somewhat visible :-

If anyone got any thoughts about it, especially from non-photographers, I’d like to hear about it. Leave a comment..watermarks logo - Kenneth Gjesdal

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Back from another photography trip to Riga, Latvia

My goal originally was to complete my photography book from my trips to Riga before I returned, but the work takes a little longer than I expected, not that I’m in a very much of a hurry, but I did had hoped to bring copies with me. I expect I’m roughly halfway done, or perhaps a bit further. I will not include any work from this trip in the book, nor will I edit many of them before I’ve completed the book… That is a goal at least, I’m known to keep such “promises” I tell myself πŸ™‚

Although he wasn’t with me physical on this trip, my good friend George Groot, is in many ways “responsible” for this trip as not only did he introduce me with two of the models I was lucky to work with, but he also gave me a tip on a photography studio I hadn’t heard of before; Yeko Photo Studio. I used the studio twice during the stay. Was very happy with the results and service I got.

Model: Sinba

Model: Sinba
MUA & Stylist: Ramona Lazda
Shot in studio

Model: Lita Lote

Model: Lita Lote
Model: Lita Lote
MUA & Stylist: Ramona Lazda & Linda Akmenlauka
Shot in Studio

While I was there another photography friend of mine was also in Riga and shot in another studio, we didn’t work together this time, but we met each evening and talked about what we both had done and looked over a few unprocessed photos, but mainly we just went out and had a meal and could talk photography for hours without anyone presents getting bored out of their minds πŸ™‚

The photos I didn’t shoot in the studio was shot in the apartment I rented. I prefer renting apartments instead of hotels, not only do I find hotels boring and too predictable, but I do prefer to have a bit more room. I like to walk to the kitchen and make myself something to eat in the evening, and then walk to another room and eat it, not sitting in one tiny (or sometimes not so tiny, but still just one or two rooms). The cost of renting an apartment in Riga is way less than a hotelroom cost back home so…
How do I find apartments you might ask. Lately I’ve used Airbnb (if you use this link you’ll get a discount when you book with them, and so do I πŸ™‚


Model: Candice

Model: Candice
MUA & Stylist: Linda Akmenlauka
Shot in apartment


Model: AliseElf

Model: AliseElf
MUA & Stylist: Linda Akmenlauka
Shot in apartment

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Editing portraits – what I most often need to edit

What I most often need to edit..

The little things

What I actually spend most time on when I edit portraits are not what people might think; the face or re-sculpture the body (something I normally don’t do)
I often have to spend up to 90% on the things that few would notice at the time, but might notice afterwards

This photo below here, from my third trip in May, 2014 to Riga, Latvia, show some of the things that would annoy me if I didn’t get it removed. the price-tags underneath the shoes.
This actually took me a little while to remove. In addition to this I had to remove some spots on the floor and wall. Elizabeth needed little work as she was in my opinion already photo-shopped when she entered the studio πŸ™‚


What I most often need to edit in portraits, the other things

This is what I spend most of the time on this image editing. Sometimes it is the little things πŸ™‚

Model: Elizabeth

Most editing in this photo was shoes and background…
Model: Elizabeth


What I normally don’t do

I do not normally reshape a person.
I try not to over-edit.


My “normal” edit process

I will document later a normal editing routine later and post it here. Stay tuned πŸ™‚


Tools I use

Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC

Topaz labs plugins

I earn a small payment from the link to Topaz plugin, but at the same time so do you if you should buy one of them. (free 30 day evaluation available)

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