Photographing curious and affectionate llamas is like photographing people: The more time you spend with them, the more open they become. And animals, just like people, need to accept you before you can make great images of them. Danielle and her llama, Shortcut, established a great bond during our two-day trek with Swan Mountain Outfitters. In the beginning, Shortcut was aloof, but after a few hours, they were old friends.
Photo tip: Whether you’re working with people or animals, it’s important to establish a relationship to make great images. One trick to remember while you start to build a relationship with most animals—and especially wildlife—is to never look at them directly. The llamas were relaxed, but with many other species, if you cover one eye or even use your camera to block your eyes, it helps them feel you’re not a predator looking to hunt them down. Animals often perceive direct eye contact as an act of aggression, and by taking time to build a bond, you’ll help them feel less threatened.