Photographing The Non-Human Subject

Photographing The Non-Human Subject

Like dogs in hats. Seriously though, the number of subjects and interests that capture our imagination in photography are seemingly endless: animals, food, landscapes, clothing, objects, homes, or the night sky, for example. And there are effective tips and tricks for each subject matter and occasion. Here we list some of our favorite non-human photography subjects and with each, a helpful tip for capturing the perfect image.


Flowers in a vase, flowers in a field, a single flower pressed into a book. Floral photography is its own special skill, but one of our favorite tips for photographing flowers is to remember a shallow depth of field. Shallow depth of field is when part of your photograph is sharp and in focus and the rest is soft, or blurred. This is effective during a close-up shot and allows you to capture the subtle details in the flower without distracting the viewer with a busy background.



Man’s best friend is a favorite subject among professional and amateur photographers, and our phones and photo libraries are cluttered with images of our furry loved ones. To really maximize your animal photography, remember to focus on the animal’s eyes. Focusing on eyes brings an expressiveness and center to a photograph that can otherwise be vacant or lack power. The spirit of your dog, cat, or the lion on safari, can be difficult to capture. Making sure the eyes are in focus is one way to do so. (Another helpful animal-photography tip: give value to their character. Wait for a scenario or situation — it may be the frame of a window or a bird about to land in its nest — that helps capture what makes animals truly photographable. They’re such a special subject. Show us why!)


Shape + color. Photographing food is a chance to get creative. Food is such a familiar subject, so when photographing it, focus on shapes and colors to give the picture its special quality. Whether it’s pairing the browns in a chocolate chip cookie with a burst of blue berries or placing them on top of a colorful table cloth, showcasing food with colorful or pattern-filled contrasts helps our eye see it in a different way. A melon cut open in elegant half-moons or the pattern of a well-set table; think about shape and color when photographing food to elevate a familiar subject into something new.

Still Life

Capturing the beauty of still life is a cornerstone of fine art as well as photography, and is a great way to practice your technical skills. Lighting, background, angle, and post-production, are all important aspects of a stunning still life shot, but today our tip for still life photography focuses on composition. Working with still life is the art of control: generally speaking you have full control over your subject matter because it is an inanimate object. In this way, you also have control over your composition, which means there are no excuses for a poor set up. Remember the basics: the rule of thirds, effective and non-distracting backgrounds, where you are leading the eye, framing, and the use of your negative space. It’s an awesome time to experiment and see what works. It will improve your eye for composition on other subjects as well.


You can spend an entire lifetime perfecting the skills for good landscape photography, but a tip that is often forgotten when choosing to photograph the outdoors is to think about movement. Landscapes are still because we are so often trying to capture long distances. But, if you’re finding a photograph seems stale or lacks interest, consider looking for ways to include movement in the picture: a rushing river, a burst of wind, or a flock of birds for example. Movement brings energy to an image, so the next time you’re photographing a picturesque hillside or town, think about elements of movement and watch your photos become more dynamic.