Facebook groups and pages for Zootographers

I enjoy sharing my Zoo and Safari Park photos on Facebook with people of like minds. I have been told I should post on Instagram more often, and keep my portfolio up to date, But, honestly, I don’t get the same feeling of interaction with others as I do with Facebook. But I am working on it.

Since Scott Kelby went to the trouble of teaching a class on using Adobe’s MyPortfolio.com site, I will get busy whipping mine into shape.

One of my favorite Facebook groups was found by searching “Zoo Photography”. With over 6.6K members, there are some really good photographers posting. You have to answer some questions to join, but that should not be an issue for most people. I don’t run the site, but it seems well moderated.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ZooPhotography/

It was through posting some photos of our male lion triplets that I was presented with photos of their father as a cub, and their grandfather. A regal looking fellow. And after posting some other photos I was rewarded with photos of some of the animals that left our zoo to start families in other AZA zoos.

If you happen to be an official volunteer or docent at an AZA zoo, I highly suggest that you join the AZADV and then you will have access to their group on Facebook.

Association of Zoo and Aquarium Docents and Volunteers

Another group I recently joined is Tongue Out Tuesday. If you are feeling silly on a Tuesday, that’s the place to post photos of animals with their tongues out.

Of course, the most common place to post photos is on your own Facebook page. I can’t stress enough that you should be tagging your zoo when you post on any social media. Quite a few zoos post signs with their hashtags. My zoo, the Oakland Zoo in Northern California has some on the ground in a few places throughout the zoo. See the photo at the top of this post.

If they don’t make it obvious, check out their page on Facebook and just tag them.

Typing @bronxzoo in your post might just get their attention. Or @PhoenixZoo. Or @OakZoo.

Check out your local zoo’s Facebook page before you go. See what kind of photos they post. Then see if you can do as well, or maybe even better.

Please, pay attention to what you are posting. Only post your best photos. Develop a reputation for being a great Zootographer by not letting people see photos that are just not your best. If you only got one shot that really stands out, that’s fine. Just post that shot.

By the way, when posting to Facebook, set your longest edge to 2048px as the maximum. Bigger than that and Facebook may do some damage to the quality of the photo when they shrink it down.

Also, when out at the zoo, think about shots that work for Facebook banners, Very wide and not very tall. And leave room for your face in the circle which will be superimposed over your banner. I know that instinct says “zoom in” but if you plan for a banner, it usually works better for you. So zoom out and look edge to edge horizontally imagining a big crop vertically.

If you happen to capture a great moment, but the photo is not something you would show to other photographers, that is fine. You would be surprised how much the Zoo, the Zookeepers, and other fans of the Zoo really want to see photos of new babies, or newly formed relationships between their animals. In many cases, to the zoo and fans of the zoo, the moment is more important than the techical details.

Enjoy your time at Zoos and Safari parks! Practice might not make perfect, but it does make for better photographs!





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