The 5 “P’s” of Livestock Photography

Rachel CutrerRHD Blog

Written by Michaela Mann

I really enjoy taking “natural” photos of livestock on pasture, corn stalks, pens, etc. Photography is not only an important tool for advertising your livestock but also allows you to enjoy your animals for years to come. We all remember our favorite animals and a great way to remember them for years to come is through a great photo. Today, cameras are readily available and with practice, you can capture your favorite animals, as well as moments on your farm or ranch.

If you are learning to photograph livestock, here are five “P’s” I encourage you to keep in mind!

1. Practice

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Photography is not easy and it is especially hard to take photos of a moving object that you can’t ask to stand still! If you are new to photography, start taking photos of stationary objects as you want to feel comfortable with your camera. Next, practice taking photos of livestock and reviewing them while out in the field. What did you like about this photo? What didn’t you like? Try and correct it on the spot! It is easier to review a photo and adjust while you are taking them then at a computer hours later.

2. Patience

70aTaking photos takes time. There are many things that can work with you or against you when taking photos like the weather and location of the cattle. Some days the animals aren’t going to cooperate and that is OK! If you plan ahead, you can give yourself ample time to try and photograph that animal. It is also important to be patient with yourself; photography is hard and it takes time to become comfortable with the camera.

3. Persistence

I find that watching cattle move around in the pasture and being an observer with a camera yields better photos. If you are having trouble photographing a certain animal, gradually walk through them and see if you can move that animal away from the herd. Don’t give up too quickly! Keep moving around the animals and let them continue on with their normal behavior. Take photos of other animals and come back to the one who you were having trouble photographing. Sometimes another person is needed to distract the animals or move them around.

4. Perfection

Perfection is not always going to happen and that is OK! 1551710_10151934699061966_1315464636_nThe animal you are photographing may not be clean, some tall grass may be in the way, or their feet may not be set just right. Remember that you are taking candid shots of your livestock and it may not all be perfect. I personally enjoy seeing livestock for what they are in an industry where I feel as though Photoshop is tends to be over used.

5. Pursue

I attended The Gathering, an agricultural marketing and photography conference held by Ranch House Designs, to further my knowledge on photography as well as promoting our cattle business. It is important to pursue further education in photography by attending conferences, reading helpful hints online, and reading articles so you cancontinue to grow.

The Gathering not only taught me how to be a better photographer, but also how to utilize my camera to the best of my abilities.

Improve your photography skills at The Gathering Conference!

Fall 2015 Workshop – September 10-11, 2015 in Wharton, Texas. Additional bonus sessions scheduled Saturday, September 12.

The Gathering Conference is the leading educational workshop for those interested in agricultural marketing, livestock marketing, and agricultural photography. This conference is part of the Ranch House Designs & Luke & Cat educational series – which are workshops designed for farmers, ranchers, producers, association staff members and industry professionals.

Go to for more information and registration.