Farm Fayre

Taking Photos of Livestock

Farm Fayre
Farm Fayre

Photographing livestock can be a difficult job if you don’t know how to effectively capture animals. But having good pictures of your livestock can help your listing stand out.

Luckily, there are some great tips to follow if you’re new to cattle photography or want to learn how to become better at capturing animals in a natural state.

There are a number of factors to take into account when photographing livestock for auctions, which is why our short guide will help you learn the tricks of getting the best photos possible. 

Along with the Charolais cattle, a variety of breeds can be bought through Farm Fayre, each with a different weight, age, temperament and beef quality. Today we are here to give you some more information on the Charolais cattle, and why the breed is so popular in Ireland.

Preparing for the Photoshoot

Before you begin to capture cattle and livestock, it is important that you have prepared the correct equipment and have set up the environment you are shooting in so that it looks good and works well for the camera. Your camera equipment should be of good quality and have the correct lenses, depending on how far you intend to capture the animals.

If you are going to be up close, a less expensive camera or a high-quality smartphone camera can work well. If you will be photographing livestock from afar, it is vital that your camera lens can zoom to the distance you require and still maintain a high quality of image or video.

If all you have is your smartphone take the time to give the lense a clean before you get started. Oils and dirt on the lens can make your pictures blurry.

Set the scene

The background of your images is just as important as the livestock in the centre. A distracting background will take the attention away from the cattle and look less appealing. If you are going to be photographing livestock in a barn or pen, set up the background so that it looks neat and tidy. We want the bidders to focus on the cattle, not the farm dog who has photobombed your shot.


It is crucial to consider the time of year and time of day when photographing livestock. In Ireland, it is best to photograph cattle in Spring or early Autumn as the days are not too hot.

Make sure you get an understanding of the animal’s daily routines; when will they be out grazing? It is also a bad idea to attempt the photography of cattle around midday, as the sun will cast shadows which can interfere with your photos.

The Best Lighting for Photographing Livestock

Lighting is one of the most important factors when it comes to photography of any kind. Lighting can make or break a photo, which is why you should understand which lighting works best for capturing animals on film.

Every single time you take a photo of livestock, whether it be from close or afar, make sure the sun is directly behind you. This ensures that the livestock will be captured in the best possible lighting and prevent shadows from interrupting the photos. 

Photograph Livestock in a Calm and Natural State

Animals should be calm and in a natural state while being photographed. You will know their routine yourself and know when they will be most relaxed and easiest to capture. The best livestock photographs can come from a cow walking naturally through fields or relaxed in a shed.

If you put the animals under stress or an unnatural situation, they are unlikely to photograph well. (Like you could anyway!)

Choosing the Best Angle

The angle you choose to photograph livestock at can make or break a photo. Ideally, your main photographs for the auction should be straight on the animal, not above or below. Taking a photo from an angle looking down or up to the animal will affect how large or small the cow looks.

This shot needs to show the animals exactly as they are, and not edited or taken at an angle that makes them appear differently from how they actually look. Wait until the animal is looking up at the camera with its legs square; IF you can get this it should get you a great photo.

For side angles and back angles follow the above tips on lighting and background. Having pictures from a few angles will help your listing draw attention.

Remember Safety Comes First

No matter how good you are photographing livestock, you must remember that your and others safety comes first, as well as the safety of the livestock itself.

You can try out creative methods for your photography, but make sure it does not jeopardise your or others safety. If you feel that the livestock is becoming aggressive or does not take to being photographed, step away and try again later or another day. 

Practice makes perfect, and the perfect shot can help get you the right bidder and the right price!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *