Not Your Average Pet

This assignment ran from Aug 1 to Aug 22, 2014.

What’s that you say? No pet is considered average in the eyes of its human. While this is true, what we’d like to do is turn the spotlight on those pets that rarely get the appreciation they deserve. Move over cats and dogs—there’s a new crowd in town.

Show us the unusual pet you love. From a frolicking fish to a lounging lizard, from a slithering snake to a romping rabbit—they come in all shapes and sizes. Hamsters, turtles, and gerbils, step right up because this is your month!

What is it about your pet that makes them so unique? Show us why you chose a chinchilla over a canine or a fish over a feline.

Curated by:

Monica Clare Corcoran
Managing Editor, Your Shot
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Sep 3, 2014.
Thank you for your contributions!

Behind the Edit

Posted sep 22, 2014

What was it like to edit almost 10,000 photos? Why did some photos make it and others didn't? Listen to my Behind the Edit on the Your Shot blog as I discuss two of my favorite photos with fellow editors Jeanne and Marie. 

Smize

Posted aug 20, 2014

After looking at a recent batch of photos submitted to this assignment, I started thinking that the word "expressionless" can be slightly misleading. Take, for example, a lizard or even a bird. At first glance you might think, How can I show the personality of my subject when its face doesn’t move—its expression seemingly frozen? On closer inspection you’ll realize it’s all about the eyes, or should I say the "smize"—smiling with your eyes. Apparently it’s a modeling thing, but I think pets have caught on. When was the last time your pet willed you to do something with its eyes?

Next time you're trying to get a good shot of your pet, concentrate on the eyes. Think about the light and how it plays with them. A catch light in the eyes provides spark where they might otherwise appear dull and lifeless. Both natural and indoor light can give you the glint you need.

Know Your Subject

Posted aug 15, 2014

When you think about photographing an animal, it might help to go about it as if you were shooting a person. Where does the subject feel most comfortable and at ease? When does their personality shine through? What do they love doing the most? Questions like these will help you figure out the best time and location to capture the most telling shot—a photo that lets the viewer know more about the subject. What story do you want to tell about your pet? What information do you want to impart?

There are certainly great photos that were captured unexpectedly and happened randomly, but most photographers would tell you that it pays to put in the time and effort before going out in the field. Do your research! Know your subject.

Does your lizard love cherries? Then bring him a handful and start snapping.

More Than Meets The Eye

Posted aug 1, 2014

As with any assignment, regardless of the subject matter, the aim of the photographer should be to get a photo that is unique. Ideally you want a photo that grabs the editor’s attention because they have never seen anything like it before. This can be tough because editors typically have looked at hundreds of thousands of images. But the beauty of photography is that with a little luck and patience, you can find magic in the most mundane situation. So wait for that perfect light, know your subject, and be ready to capture that moment.

A photo of a fluffy rabbit is certainly cute, but take the photo to the next level and watch how it interacts with children or other pets. What behaviors or traits does your pet have that make it so endearing to you? Even a pet photo can tell a story and that is what this assignment is all about. I love all animals but have always owned “boring” cats and dogs. Show me what I am missing with your photos this month.

Monica Clare Corcoran

Monica Clare Corcoran

Managing Editor, Your Shot
Monica C. Corcoran is an award-winning photography producer with over 15 years experience in visual storytelling. She is a Senior Photo Editor at National Geographic Society managing the Your Shot photo community and the National Geographic Magazine Photo Contest.
371 comments
Maria Dimitrova
Maria Dimitrova

In some pictures I saw cats and dogs...The name of assignments is for pets ,who is not usual, I think.

Kika Jones
Kika Jones

Some great photos, but it is a shame that the assignments was about pets, but there are many pictures of animals that are clearly not their pets.

salim chehab
salim chehab

this is the worst of the assignment, with only 14 photos !! no respect for the time of publication !! so failed  !!!!!!

Charlene Maginn
Charlene Maginn

Good luck everyone on your submissions!  This was so exciting looking through everyone's pictures.  I drew alot of inspiration from your submissions.  This site is amazing and I appreciate the opportunity to participate!  :)

Grace Torgerson
Grace Torgerson

Everyone contributed with great photos. I wish everyone of them would be published, but they cannot. i wish good luck to everyone who contributed. Thank you for the hard work everyone! I loved all the pictures that I looked at!!! Have a great day!!!

-Grace

James Blosser
James Blosser

By all of the photos that Monica picked as favorites this should be a beautiful story in pictures!!!!!!!

Abigail Read
Abigail Read

I was wondering, I took a picture on the 21st.  I tried to upload it on the 22nd, but it wouldn't let me.  I was wondering if y'all could take a look at it anyway?  It's the newest picture I've uploaded.  I would really appreciate it.  Thanks! 

Nicole A.
Nicole A.

Hi all, New to the site but when I saw the not your average pet challenge I had to ad a few photos. Now I'm excited to add more. Check them out and favorite or comment! I'd love feedback (the best one was not taken with the best camera, but the moment was perfection.) Thanks! Nice to meet you all :) 


http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/4265912/

http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/4265971/

http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/4266045/

http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/4266069/



Linda Bailey
Linda Bailey

ugh, I missed it?!  The contest was supposed to be open through the 22nd - It is still the 22nd! Rushed home from work to get my entry in. Oh well

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

new assignment is out. this 1  will be interesting to see  what everyone posts  :)  I am sure there will be  some great photos posted as     usual

Kim Mason
Kim Mason

I hope a new assignment is coming soon because I couldn't really participate in this one since I have a dog.  I like what I learn from these assignments. :)

Richard Weldon
Richard Weldon

Monica,, I would like to know what I have to do to get my copyrights back from NG, and how do I go about terminating  my photos from NG so I can get my photos back thank-you very much.

David Hoffmann
David Hoffmann

Good luck to everyone on all of their submissions.

Ian B.
Ian B.

Hey! New to Your Shot, and have a question. Not sure if this is the right place. I'm finding that the color images I upload have different, duller colors after I upload them. Like a bright green goes to a slightly duller brown green. Has anyone else experienced this, or know a solution?

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

this  fall  when the  leave  change color I wanna  drive   back up  thru  blue ridge  mountain  parkway.   there is a  spot    there  called  devil's   courtyard.  great  views.   Cherokee    say a    giant        that lives in a  cave  there. 

Adrian Miller
Adrian Miller

12 hours left for someone without an exotic pet to go to Petsmart and get a glamour shot of an employee at their establishment handling an exotic animal...or two.  Make sure to show some signage perhaps, definitely the store logo on the work shirt.  Do their hair and make-up while you're at it if you're that ambitious haha.  I would of tried it but the closest one is a 5 hour round trip. 

Charlene Maginn
Charlene Maginn

@Linda Bailey So sorry to hear that. I missed the Into the Wilderness due to mistaking 12 pm for midnight!  Maybe that happened here too?


Charlene Maginn
Charlene Maginn

@Richard Weldon Richard ... if you try to download anyone's picture - it will come up with a message saying this is so and so's (or  Richard's in your case) copyright and it cannot be downloaded.  I checked before adding my own pictures. 

Adrian Miller
Adrian Miller

@Richard Weldon I like your work Richard - your portfolio is vast and you've put a lot of time into it.  I'd consider leaving your portfolio here as you do retain copyright status and you're as valuable a part of this community as anyone else in it.  But the choice is yours.  Would be a shame to see you leave.  I can understand your frustration over some earlier topics of discussion, I've had them in the past until the topic was explained by others on previous threads, other Assignments.  As far as copyright goes, Austin is correct from what I've read in the fine print sections on the site.  If you do go I wish you luck in your endeavours...but I do feel you may slightly regret it in time as you have obviously spent a lot of time building your portfolio here which will always belong to you whether it's on the site or not. 

Austin Cason
Austin Cason

You still own the copyright to your photos. But if you want to remove them from the site, go to each photo, hit the "Edit" button that shows up in the bottom left OR top left, then go to the bottom of the window and hit "delete"

Kim Mason
Kim Mason

@Richard Weldon You have some beautiful pics on here, especially your sunsets.  Hope you stick around.  :)

Charlene Maginn
Charlene Maginn

@Ian B. Ian ... I had the exact same question/concern when I uploaded as well!  No one has yet been able to explain it - as I do upload with 300 pixels each time and on my computer before downloading them they are much much crisper and cleaner. 

brad kennedy
brad kennedy

@Adrian Miller @brad kennedy  I've     jumped   into my  car  before    just went  for a  drive. before I realized  it I was in  Knoxville  tenn.    a  2 1/2  hour   drive   from where  I live in sc

Adrian Miller
Adrian Miller

@brad kennedy @Adrian Miller  Personally burnt from chasing assignments over the last two months...barely picked up the cam this past while.  Life gets in the way.  But I know what you mean...that zone.