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The Fun Mouse: About Us: Taking Great Pictures of Mice

Taking pic's for the novice.

(Taking pic's for the professional below)

Having a digital camera with several mega pixels is a must for taking pic's of mice. Mice move very fast and a lot of pictures are discarded do to blur. Using a film camera costs more as you can't pick and choose what ones you want to develop. Also, mice are so small that having several mega pixels makes the pic's turn out less grainy.

Once you have a decent camera you are ready to set up a "studio". This can be very inexpensive and require minimal time. If you take 2 pieces of paper and tape them together as shown in the picture below, you have a perfect setting. You can get creative by using different color paper for the background. Using the 2 pieces of paper method, you not only have a great background but you have a small area that your mouse can move in. With a smaller area it makes taking pictures a lot easier. The mouse moves around a lot less therefore you get less movement blur and better angles. I'm sure we all know that setting them on something they can run on only makes for a game of tag because you have to "chase" the mouse with the camera. Make sure that the top piece of paper is taped all the way around to the bottom one. If it's not then the mouse will go under it. Also (not shown in this pic) when you tape the top paper on, make it overlap/hang off the sides of the bottom piece of paper at the front. This helps prevent the mouse from just walking around it to get to the other side.

Next is good lighting. This will help the shutter speed a great deal, making for clearer pictures. The best way to do this is to have good top light and side lighting. To do this, place your "studio" under a nice light. Then place a lamp on each side of the studio. This simple solution to a huge problem of mouse picture taking is all the novice photographer needs to take wonderful pic's of their mice!

The "Studio"
novice studio

This is the picture that "studio" gave. This is the same mouse, in a different position.

Taking pic's for the professional.

As stated in the section above, having a digital camera with several mega pixels is a must for taking pic's of mice. The more mega pixels the better! Also, having a camera with a fast shutter speed makes picture taking a lot easier. You will get the perfect picture with no blur a lot easier than a camera with a slow shutter speed. We use a Minolta Maxxum 5D (sadly they are not in production any more but the newest version is the Sony Alpha). Good cameras come with not so good price tags tho. For the camera itself we paid $700, not including accessories. Everything stated in the above section for novices about lighting etc is also very helpful here!

Pictured below is the setup we now use for taking mouse pictures. It is equipped with umbrella lighting and a roll of paper. We all know how much mice love to go to the bathroom where ever they are. Using a roll of paper makes it so once one part of the roll is soiled you can just cut it off and use more of the roll for a clean backdrop. We also have a green screen that can be a lot of fun! When using a green screen you can use a program to change the background to anything you want (a flowery background, beautiful curtains, etc). It's just like what they use in the movies. The only down fall to a green screen is with satin and white mice. These mice will pick up the green color in their fur. The way that the program works to change the background is that it takes everything of the same color (green) and replaces it with the special background you select, like flowers. If a mouse has any of that green in it, those parts of the mouse will also become the background, making for an undesirable end result. Satin and white mice absorb the background color, but for the other mice, this is a fun tool to use.

Once you have your pictures taken you then need a photo editor. I use Photo Shop for all of my photo needs. I highly recommend this program. Some people like Pain Shop pro. While I respect how they feel, it can't compare to Photo Shop and all of its capabilities. In Photo Shop you can crop, scale, play with lighting (we all know how mice often don't show their true color in pic's. With this program you can alter the pic so it looks perfect!), and compress it for the web. Have fun taking pic's of your meece!!

Click on the pic to see it enlarged.
professional studio

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