If you’re anything like me, your pet will be considered a part of the family and you’ll love taking photos of them. Trying to capture your pet’s personality in a simple photo can be quite a challenge but when you get it right you’ll have an enormous sense of achievement – especially since it can be difficult to keep them still for more than 2 seconds!
image credit: jehkay
Whether you take pictures of your pet every day or a couple of times a year take a look at these tips to make the most of your pet photography sessions.
1. Use natural light if possible – using a flash when taking a photo of an animal isn’t ideal. Flash photography can frighten or startle them and cause red-eye so taking photos outside, on a bright but overcast day, is ideal. If shooting outside isn’t possible then try to capture them near a window or in a room with plenty of natural light.
2. If you want to take a more traditional portrait of your pet then timing is key, don’t try to take photos at a time your pet is expecting their dinner or wanting to nap. They’ll be much more likely to co-operate if they haven’t got a rumbling stomach!
3.If you’re trying to take a picture of your dog then take them for their daily walk first and give them a good run to burn off any excess energy.
4. If your pet shows an interest in the camera then let them have a sniff and become familiar with it. They need to be as comfortable as possible with their surroundings for a successful shoot.
5. Think about the background. Don’t take a picture of a dark colored pet against a dark background and vice versa. Try a contrasting background, lush green grass works well for most pets. Ensure the background is not cluttered otherwise it may take the focus away from your pet. Experiment using the portrait setting on your camera to blur the background, which will put even more emphasis on your pet.
6. If you want a shot which captures your pet’s true personality then make sure you take pictures in a situation where they’re most comfortable. Trying to take action shots of your lazy cat will not show a true likeness of them. If they are constantly sleeping then take a photo of them doing just that!
image credit: Jens
7. Consider the viewpoint of your shot. Try getting down on their level to get a picture from their perspective. Crouching or lying down on the floor will help to get a view from their eye level. However, you can also get great pictures from shooting up or down, just make sure you’re not taking pictures of the top of their head!
8. Remember that animals, like children, have very short attention spans. You will need an abundance of patience to get a good shot. Don’t expect your pet to co-operate at the exact moment that you want to start taking photos either. If you’re looking to get a natural shot of your pet then ensure your camera is ready to go and just wait for that perfect opportunity.
9. Use the zoom facility to get close up, natural shots without disturbing them. The zoom will also enable you to fill the entire frame, close ups of noses, sleeping eyes and paws can make fantastic pictures.
10. Try using props to get your pet into a playful mode. Use treats, squeaker toys or even a whistle to get their attention. Capture their alertness and wide eyes and you never know, they might even sit where you ask them to in anticipation of a tasty treat!
11. Show their social side and photograph them with other pets and family members.
12. If you’re confident with the settings on your camera use the manual modes to get better action shots, experiment using a faster shutter speed and a wide aperture. Catching a dog mid sprint or a cat leaping in the air can make a particularly striking image.
Remember, this is the age of digital photography so don’t be scared to take a multitude of pictures. Out of 200 shots you may only get three or four really great shots but they’ll be the ones that you remember forever.
About Guest Author:
Matt Beswick is a dog lover who runs a number of pet related websites and frequently photographs his own dogs at home. He can be found doing his best to sell dog collars at pet365.co.uk or blogging at his personal site, mattbeswick.com.