What makes a good photo-ID picture?

To identify bottlenose dolphins we use the nicks and notches that dolphins accumulate along the trailing edge of their dorsal fins, as well as the dorsal fin shape and more temporary natural marks such as rake marks and skin lesions. However, we can only do this from good or excellent quality photographs. Check out what makes a good photo-ID picture below.

Is the dorsal fin visible?

EXCELLENT

    Fin entirely visible

GOOD

Trailing edge still visible

GOOD

Some water on fin

POOR

Fin is completely obscured

POOR

No dorsal fin!

How close is the animal?

EXCELLENT

  Fin size is big in the frame

EXCELLENT

   Fin size is big in the frame

GOOD

Fin size is large enough

GOOD

 

Fin size is large enough

POOR

Fin is too small

Is the image in focus?

EXCELLENT

  Trailing edge is sharp

EXCELLENT

   Trailing edge is sharp

GOOD

Trailing edge is a bit grainy

POOR

Trailing edge is out of focus

POOR

Trailing edge is out of focus

Is the animal at a right-angle to you?

EXCELLENT

  Animal is at a right-angle

 GOOD

  Animal is not quite at a right-angle

 GOOD

Animal is not quite at a right-angle

POOR

Animal is not at a right-angle  

POOR

Animal is facing the camera

Is the lighting ok?

EXCELLENT

  Dorsal fin is clearly lit

EXCELLENT

  Dorsal fin is clearly lit

 GOOD

     Fin is dark but trailing edge is visible in silhouette

 GOOD

 All a bit dull but trailing edge silhouette is clear

POOR

Photo is too dark, not enough light