Top tips for quality photographs

Top tips for quality photographs

Photos form an instant impression in any buyer’s mind. A good photo will illustrate elements such as a positive stance, good colouring and animal welfare.

A poor photograph can change a buyer’s perception. For instance, if you were to view a photo of livestock covered in mud, in dirty bedding with a rusting tractor with flat tyres in the background you may be inclined to form a negative opinion, despite the animal being of good stock on paper.

For any online sales listing, the most important selling point is a photograph that portrays the Beef Shorthorn breed in a positive manner.

Below are a few suggestions on how to take a great picture on any device – camera, phone or tablet.

Top tips 

Think about the composition of your photo. Lighting, backgrounds and the stance of your animal can all make a huge difference to your final picture. The background of a shot is just as important as the eye of the viewer should be drawn to the animal and not be distracted by the background.


  • Take several photos, and experiment with different angles and, if possible, backgrounds so you have plenty to select from once you start to download.
  • Ensure good lighting. Make the most of daylight, photos during the day are most likely to be well lit. Indoor ensure the shot is well lit, but not showing the flare of a flash.
  • Keep the sun behind you. Photos into the sun can ‘white-out’ an image. Also consider where shadow falls.
  • Consider your animals’ best feature and position the angle of the shot to best reflect this. Take photos from the same level as your animal, frame centrally and ensure the animal is not too distant.
  • Make sure the animal is clean and well presented.
  • Indoor – make sure the pen is clean illustrating good care is taken of the animal.
  • Outdoor – don’t take photos of an animal stood in a muddy environment.
  •  Be aware of what the animal is doing ie it’s not distracted and standing four-square. Shots with animals head
    up and ears forward are always popular.
  • Try to ensure the animal’s stance is good with front legs square.
  • Ensure background features are subtle, neutral and clean eg. a whitewashed wall or a hedgerow.
  • Change your angle so fence poles do not look as if they are ‘growing out’ of the head of an animal.
  • Use contrast to your advantage – a white animal against a light background blends in making the profile less dramatic.


  • Use zoom as images may appear grainy on a larger screen. It is best to crop an image later to ensure the animal is in the centre of the frame.
  • Use camera flash. To avoid red eye, where possible, move an animal into a well-lit area if indoors.
  • Avoid fences or objects in front of an animal like a wire fence or trough blocking the view of parts of the animal.
  • Be aware of what other animals in the background may be up to, a mating bull may detract from what the photograph is trying to show.
  • Avoid ‘health and safety’ misdemeanours, eg. an upturned fork lying in the centre of a yard.
  • Don’t feature people in the background.
  • Don’t feature vehicles or signage in the background.

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Bulls and females


Beef Shorthorn cattle suitable for commercial herds

Beef Shorthorn Cross

Crossbred females sired by a registered Beef Shorthorn bull, and which are suitable for commercial suckler herds

Store Cattle

Beef Shorthorn cattle - pure or crossbred, destined for finishing


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Use the link below to progress to the upload form

Registered office: Chapelshade House, 78-84 Bell Street, Dundee DD1 1RQ
Company number SC019414 | Scottish charity number SC010218 | Patron: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal

The Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society (Head Office)
The Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society, Society Pavilion, Avenue M, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, CV8 2RG

T: 02475 099146
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