7 Pet-Perfect Photo Tips That Will Have Your Family and Friends Standing On Their Hind Legs and Begging for More
Experienced parents and pet owners will tell you that children and pets present almost the exact same challenges: feeding, cleaning, protecting, caring, controlling and finding enough time to enjoy and love them. Experienced photographers will tell you that many of the same tips and tricks apply when trying to photograph kids and pets. Learn to use the techniques in this PhotographyTalk article to capture more interesting, unique and lovable images that more people will want to see.
1. The path to better pet photography begins without a camera in your hands. The first tip is to spend some studying your pet. You may think you know its personality, but often you’ll learn even more if you simply observe and not interact with your pet. Watch from a window to see what it does in the backyard or note how it plays with other dogs in the park.
2. Look for the spot or spots where your pet likes to rest during the day. A dog may like a soft rug or the warm floor bathed by the sun at midday. A cat may prefer a location well above the floor, as this is part of its predator instinct. Make sure you note the light levels and surrounding environments of these locations, so you can plan the kind of pictures you want to take and when you can take them, according to your pet’s schedule.
3. Some pets are more active than others because they are younger, or high energy helps to define their personality. Look for these periods of greater activity because they are apt to be so concentrated on what they are doing that you can move closer to capture more exciting and memorable images.
4. Of course, moving closer to your subject matter, regardless of what it may be, is one of the primary tips that the pros recommend to amateurs. With pets (like children), not only do you need to move closer, but also you should shoot at their level. Avoid the typical standing angle above your pet. Kneel, lie or even crawl to bring the camera level with their eyes. Just like a photo portrait of a human, your pet images won’t reveal much of its personality or mood unless the camera can peer directly into their eyes.
Because cats like to sit at high places, you often have to do the opposite and climb a ladder or use other safe means to frame them at face level.
5. You don’t want to be just a photographic observer because a whole, new category of pet photos is possible when you interact with your pet. Entice it with a toy or treats to make it leap and lunge or show the world all the tricks you taught it.
6. Try to frame shots with you and your pet. Use the “B” or bulb setting on your camera, or a remote, wireless shutter release. Invite other family members to pose with the family pet for beautiful portraits, or to allow you to focus on taking pictures while a family member holds the pet’s attention.
7. If you think you may need to use a flash to light your pet, then first fire it a few times in another direction in its presence to determine how the animal will react to the light. You could cause fear of the light, making it difficult to photograph your pet ever again, as it might associate the light with the camera, even without a flash.
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