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Old 03-03-2020, 03:54 AM   #1
Petite
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Default Photographing hamsters

Looking around the forum, I'm seeing some absolutely gorgeous pics of hamsters, and also wondering how you get such lovely clear snaps. I have very few reasonable photos of my late hamster, and only a very few that are clear. Is it down to the photographer or the equipment? Can anyone give me any tips?
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:40 AM   #2
souffle
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Default Re: Photographing hamsters

It's down to taking loads really and a lot of luck. We do set up with props though using pillows with a cloth over to make an 'enclosure' It's better if you have a helper to handle and position the hamster and someone else to snap away! You need plenty light so you can use a high shutter speed as they are blurry otherwise. We use a DSLR but you can get decent pics on most cameras or phones.
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:46 AM   #3
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: Photographing hamsters

I have to admit my 'better' photos are taken on my DSLR but I still get decent photos on my tablet, and as I have just finally moved with the times and got a smart phone, I can get pretty decent pics with that too. It's like Souffle says, just take loads, practice taking from different angles, get down low for example. Another thing you could try is filming them rather than pics, and you can then use something like Kazam where you can take a screenshot of any image from a video that you like.

You could also get ready with whatever you are using to take the photographs with then give them something to eat, they may or maynot stay still for a little bit longer giving you a chance to get a good photo.
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:56 AM   #4
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Photographing hamsters

A lot of it is luck . But light is important. And that can be tricky when hamsters are asleep in daylight. I’ve had some nice pics taken just on a phone but find the phone doesn’t do well with low light - in terms of picture quality or having enough speed to prevent blurring.

Basically if there’s enough light it gives a faster shutter speed and catches a hamster in seconds without blurring - as they rarely sit still for long.

I used to use a compact camera which had good settings for low light. Normal room light can look a bit warm/yellowy but most modern cameras can adjust for this and rectify it. I don’t have an slr (they give really high quality photos) but I do have a small camera with interchangeable lenses rather than a zoom lens and this allows more light in. Single lenses tend to have a wider aperture (lets more light in and has the background out of focus) than zoom lenses - but my compact camera but not necessarily as my compact camera also had a wide aperture setting.

But basically you first need the hamster out of the cage usually! A good time for photos is during play time when they’re out in a playpen first example and the room is well lit but not so bright it bothers them.

Personally I don’t use flash. It tends not to give great results and startles the hamster and I’m not sure it’s good for them on a regular basis.

If you use a phone camera it will just give the best settings it can for the amount of light. If you use a camera you should be able to see what the settings are. Anything slower than 1/60th of a second speed will blur unless the hamster is sitting still. Anything faster than that and you might be able to freeze action but normally you need them to be still for a few seconds!

I rarely spend much time trying to get a good photo and just take my chances when the hamster is out and these photos are for fun and memories. To have a posed photo partly depends on how the hamster feels at the time. But also needs some preparation - eg putting a blanket on the sofa as a plain backdrop, some items to make the photo fit the theme (eg Christmas baubles if it’s a Christmas photo) and maybe the odd treat in strategic places to help the hamster stay there while you take photos. Although I tend to find I just get the top of the hamster’s head while he’s eating the treat!

If you have another person there they could dangle a treat slightly above them while you take the photo. And then give it to them of course.

I had a nice one of Pickle at Christmas after having him out in the bed with lots of Christmas items set up (he knocked them all over!). And just snapped for about 10 or 15 minutes. Out of umpteen photos I was lucky to get one good one where he sat still and looked up at me with something Christmassy still in sight. Sometimes they do actually “pose” and they get used to it as well.

Just to add - it doesn’t always go to plan but if you can get something sharp and we’ll focused and the hamster is looking the right way it can be special and capture their personality.
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:32 AM   #5
Ithuviel
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Default Re: Photographing hamsters

I feel like this is a question i should be answering as I am e photographer, but honestly, all of my good pics are taken with my DSLR in their enclosure with whatever light is available. That is why my pics are all taken at iso 3200.

I am too lazy to set-up anything. i fell that i would need lamps (no flashlight as this might disturb the hamster). I only have 1 video lamp that will not raise the temperature by 5 degrees celsius. So all of my pics are taken with the hamsters in their cage.
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Old 03-03-2020, 10:39 AM   #6
Littlephodopusmom
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Default Re: Photographing hamsters

I love photography, it's my hobby. But all my cameras are Bridge cameras versus DSLR's. The reason is that I like to shoot wildlife and also go to the mountains where packing a lot of gear and changing lenses don't work for what I'm shooting. If an animal appears suddenly I need to be able to point and click with no time to adjust settings. I rarely worry about lighting and the details because I use post processing to fix the images I'm not satisfied with. I use Photodirector the most, it's very much like Lightroom. When I bought my cameras I looked for ones that were moderate price, had the best zoom I could get, and could freeze motion (have Burst mode). I use burst mode most the time. I also look for cameras with great vibration and wind reduction controls because I don't have the steadiest hands, don't use tripods, and am often outside. I value my clear shots and fuzzed shots both because it is about capturing the moment for me more than the perfection of the shot. I would definitely call myself a lazy photographer and don't like fussing with a lot of controls Simply, I want the camera to work for me and as fast as it can. My blurred shots are usually a result of moving too much while I take shots. But with a fast camera and mental focus you can take shots out of a car at 100km and still have them clear. Burst is my key to happy photo taking, you can almost always get a shot you are happy about with a fast camera imo
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burst_mode_(photography)
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Old 03-03-2020, 10:44 AM   #7
Petite
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Default Re: Photographing hamsters

Thank you - there's some brilliant tips here! I have also tried with a DSLR, but can't say that the results were more effective than with my Casio. I must take more photos when I get my new ham - a LOT more!
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:29 PM   #8
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Photographing hamsters

My favourite lens for photographing hamsters is a 45mm micro four thirds lens (short portrait length lens). It slightly blurs the background and you don’t have to get too close to the hamster. For Pickle’s Christmas photo I set up lighting - by using our two bedside lamps either side of the bed both pointing inwards (angle poise type lamps) but with a diffuser over them so they weren’t too bright and it softened and diffused the light evenly. The diffusers were a couple of thin vests! Hanging over them. Also had the top ceiling light on. That means no shadows and even lighting.

Normally it’s just available light and I have plenty of rubbish photos haha.
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Old 03-03-2020, 11:51 PM   #9
Celestial
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Default Re: Photographing hamsters

It's so amazing some of the pictures you have gotten and how detailed they are! And even more amazing now that I know how determined you are to get them!

I'm nowhere near professional photographer level... I just used my phone and a couple times we used the non-phone camera we have had for years.
The better pictures were when she was eating or sleeping or laying down, and videos worked better for when she was moving.

I never used flash as I didn't want to startle her. I did notice that the camera in the phone must have made some interesting too-high-for-humans noise when it was focusing, as usually when we took pictures she would look at it curiously and want to get up close and sniff, and sometimes trying to focus the picture caused her to move around. Oddly, making videos didn't seem to get her as interested as taking one photo.
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Old 03-04-2020, 01:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Photographing hamsters

I found hamsters made me want to take photos Yes I find the shutter noise can startle them sometimes so I turn the sound off (not the videoing sound but the noises the camera/phone makes). They still know when it's pointing at them. Newt used to investigate the camera and try and eat it if I left it sitting in the playpen to video him
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