Photographing Baby Calves

My favorite ever subject for photography is baby calves. Why? They are so adorable! You might think baby kids (goats) would be my favorite since they are so mini and cute.

Although photographing baby goats is awesome, I think I actually prefer photographing newborn calves even better.

There is something about cows that makes it more worthwhile to capture pictures of them. Maybe it’s the challenge of snapping an up close picture of a skittish calf under heavy guard by a momma cow. Maybe it’s how miniature and huge they can seem at the same time. Goats are obviously cute, even when they are grown, but when massive cows come in teeny form… it’s something special.

So how do you get adorable pictures of calves? It can actually be difficult at times. Goats are friendly and outgoing (at least ours are) and it’s easy to just pick up one of those babies and carry it off somewhere to snap some up close pictures as they try to run off and find their momma. For one thing, unless you are my dad, you can’t pick up a calf. For another thing, good luck getting close enough to even touch it unless the momma and the baby are asleep on opposite sides of the fence.

But thankfully, there is at least one thing going for you with calves. They are amazingly curious about cameras, something I have not found in particular with goats. The momma cows don’t care much for cameras, but the calves are full of curiosity about what you are, what the black thing making clicking noises that you keep looking through is, and whether you are fun to play with.

I thought I’d come up with a few tips to successfully get adorable pictures of baby calves, so here they are!

Tips for getting adorable photos of newborn calves:

  1. Take it slow. DO NOT LOSE YOUR PATIENCE! Often this will involve scooting forward at a rate of 1 cm per minute. Do whatever you can to make the momma cow think you are not moving towards their calf in any way, while still getting progressively closer.
  2. Tying on to the last point: make them think you are heading the opposite direction. This is kinda hard to explain, but basically if you are moving towards as calf and the momma and or the calf starts to get nervous, start easing into a different direction preferably one that will help get you around to a better, perhaps closer angle. Not sure if that one made any sense whatsoever, but oh well.
  3. Also, sometimes just sticking around in a field for a little while doing nothing will help a momma cow get comfortable with you. But do watch, because super protective momma cows might just get super nervous with you just standing there doing nothing, so if you test it out first while standing by a fence you can just slip under, that’s best.
  4. To get a really nice shot, get low to the ground. One of the big things that makes a picture of a super cute newborn calf even more cute is the angle. If you get a picture from standing or from a distance, you just really can’t see how cute and tiny and precious they look. Point is, get low to the ground, and focus on the angle.
  5. If a momma cow is heading for you, often just one or two steps backwards will console them. Usually you don’t have to run completely away if a momma cow is moodily heading for you because she thinks you are too close to her calf. Also, don’t run. That’s never a good idea. Back up as slowly as is safe.
  6. Snap ’em as you go. So many times I’ve been waiting for a momma cow and her calf to to move a little bit and get just the perfect shot when… they moved. Completely. And I missed getting a picture altogether. Instead, while you are waiting or trying to get closer, keep snapping pictures. Still, be careful, because occasionally the continual shutter noise can startle the calves or momma’s. Or just any shutter noise.
  7. Watch it. Keep your eyes looking around. Sometimes even if you are not trying to get closer to a calf, the calf can be curiously moving towards you when you’re not paying attention. I’ve had a momma cow come barging at me before because her own calf was coming over to investigate me. Just keep your eyes open.
  8. And lastly, enjoy it! Enjoy the chance you have to watch precious newborn calves up close, even if you don’t catch any good pictures.

I’m not sure how many of you will ever end up trying to snap pictures of baby calves, but these tips may also be helpful for capturing photos of wildlife or other baby animals.

Hope you found these tips interesting, even if you don’t do photography yourself.

And of course, this post would not be complete without…

The Adorable Photos of Baby Calves!

This one I feel, turned out really well, although the momma cow was not so thrilled.



And finally, what might have been my favorite if it had been in focus. Alas. I was hoping for an adorable shot of the baby calf licking milk off of her nose. (The pink tags in the calves are girls, in case you were wondering 🙂 ) It kinda happened. Except it was sadly deficient in focus.


I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I took me a few weeks to work on this one by bits. I’ve been very busy with a lot of other things. Hopefully, I will be more on top of things, and get another post around to you in a week or two.

I hope (and kinda know) that you enjoyed every second of the baby calf pictures! Perhaps you agree: they may just be your favorite photography subject… at least to look at. 🙂

I also hope you are blessed by the beautiful display God has created all around us. I don’t know about you, but fall weather is beautiful (even if it feels cold early in the morning). What could be more beautiful than baby calves frisking about on a stiff breeze with golden beams lighting the background?

“The Lord bless you, and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.”

-Numbers 6:24-26


** All scripture quotations are from the NASB translation unless otherwise noted.

%d bloggers like this: