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Perfect Pictures

By Trinity Malmanis, Goat-San Dairy Goats

Taking posed pictures of your goats is a challenging task. The main goal of a “show” photo is to maximize the apparent quality of your animal. The best photos are usually taken on show day because the goats are dressed to the nine, but lovely complimentary pictures can be taken right at home. It really helps to work with a person experienced in taking goat photos. Whether it’s an excellent showman to pose the goats while you take the pictures, or a good camera person to take the photos. With new technology you can take pictures by yourself with a remote and a tripod, but this is more challenging than working with another person…. maybe…unless it’s your sister you’re working with :’D. It is important to take A LOT of pictures. With essentially unlimited storage these days, we can now take as many pictures as we need to get “the one”. On average I take anywhere from 10-30 pictures of each goat using slightly different angles and leg placements.

The worst thing for your herd, and your animals for marketing purposes is to post a picture that makes the goat look WORSE than she is. If you think it is not representative of her, then just don’t post it. No picture is better than a bad picture.

Background and Surface – Before you even start taking pictures, try to find the best place to accomplish your task. A level surface is key, with a background that offers little distraction. If you are outside, consider the shadows when picturing.

Natural v Posed – The idea behind a good photo is to make the goat look as natural as possible, while manipulating her strengths and weakness. Over exaggeration of pose is not ideal. Ideally the head is pointing straight ahead of the goat or slightly turned towards the camera with ears forward.

Udder – The way the udder looks in the photo is the number one priority in photographing dairy goats. It is a high point category and really sets the tone for the whole goat and photo. The udder should be presented with 1/3 behind the leg, 1/3 under the leg and 1/3 in front of the leg. Not all goats naturally have this in side view. The handler needs to set the leg where it will best show the udder and maintain the most structural correctness. It is then up to the photographer to change the angle of the photo incrementally to most maximize the balance of the udder from side view.

Rear Legs – The placement of the rear legs is contingent on the udder. The rear leg on the front side needs to be placed to most frame the udder. Sometimes this means setting the leg in a position that isn’t where the goat naturally places it. The leg on the far side should be placed in balance with the other leg, but also in the position that creates the most correct essence and lets the back be as natural as possible. In a perfect world, the rear legs are set where the point of the hock is in a plumb line with the pin bones, but only if that is where they would best frame the udder. Angle of the rear leg should be considered after placement. Pinching down can aid in adding more angle.

Front legs – The front legs should be in a plumbline from the tallest point of the wither to the ground and shoulder width apart. The most common mistake is front legs that are placed too far forward. When photographing an animal always check the point of elbow on the front side for tightness.

Pinching down – Pinching a goat down is a good way to add a finishing touch to a photo. It can make them look longer, more level, more angulated in the rear leg, and more stylish. However, over pinching, or pinching in the wrong place are more detrimental than helpful. Also make sure to time the pinch down with your handler so their hand is not in the photo.

ANDDA Newsletter June 2022 - Copyright 2022

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