Tips for Photographing Chickens

Who doesn’t love to snap some proud parent photos of their flock?

We love our chickens! Just as each one looks unique, each has an individual personality. Nothing is more rewarding than capturing that in a beautiful picture.

If you’ve ever tried photographing a chicken, you may have quickly realized it can be quite a challenge! Rarely ever is a chicken totally still! They move with lightening like reflexes, constantly bobbing their heads and running around.

Here are some quick and easy tips anyone can use to get some excellent pictures of their chickens!

1) Fast Shudder Speed

To combat the super rapid movements of a chicken, simply increase the shudder speed. The shudder speed refers to how fast the “eye” of the camera opens and closes. The faster the shudder opens and closes, the higher chance you are of ending up with a crystal clear photo. If your camera allows it, try using a fast shudder speed of around 1/600 to 1/1000 of a second. If your camera doesn’t allow you to change the shudder speed, you can also put it in Sports Mode.

To get a even more pleasing photo, bump down the f-stop if your camera allows it. The f-stop, or aperture, affects the depth of field. With an aperture of f/4 or higher, the chicken AND the background will all be in sharp focus. To create a buttery, smooth background while keeping the subject in focus, choose an aperture as low as you can go, f/2 or f/1.4 are really fantastic!

2) Get on Their Level

You don’t have to have the latest and greatest camera to get a great chicken photographs! Another trick is to get on their level. Squatting down will let you see things from their perspective and allows you to get eye level with the chicken. It always helps to lure them close by with treats. Wait until they are calm, and fire away!

3) Move Around

After getting on their level for a few shots, try moving around them. The most mundane scene can be totally transformed by simply moving your position. Stand in a chair and shoot down over them, get your camera low to the ground and shoot up towards them, etc. One of my new favorites is shooting through greenery or foliage, but having the chicken in focus in the background. There are endless possibilities, just get creative!

4) Pick Good Lighting

Choosing the right light can literally make or break a great picture! This applies to everything we photograph, even chickens! The best times of day to photograph chickens are early in the morning or right before sunset. Try shooting with the sun behind your hen or rooster to create beautiful, moody images.

Harsh, midday sun is the most difficult light to photograph in. Strong rays from the sun can create hot spots of bright, white light that aren’t always flattering for your flock. If you’re shooting at the time of day, simply having the chicken stand in the shade will make a world of difference.

After your photo session, don’t feel discouraged if you end up with tons of blurry photos! I do every time! Fortunately, it never fails that I will have several really great, crisp clear photos of my hens! Chickens are truly a challenging subject with their super fast movements! You cannot really instruct them on how to pose like you could a human subject! Get out there and experiment with your camera and flock today! You may find a new found hobby!