How to take good photos of your pets

Professional Portrait of Beau
Two dogs begging

How to take good photos of your pets

We all want to take funny photos of our furry family members to share with our friends. But making pets pose for the camera is not easy because they move around too much. On top of that, they just won’t do what we want them to do. Here are some tips to help you capture the wonderful moments with your pets on camera:

Make them comfortable
Some pets might feel uncomfortable with the camera especially when you use the flash. One way to handle this is to put the camera on the ground and put their food next to it. You have to be aware of their needs to make them loosen up (a dog might feel it is in trouble if you are “pointing” at it with a camera, for example). You can give treats, toys, and even include children or other pet-friendly people to be able to shoot them at their most playful moments.

Focus on your pet’s unique character
Try to capture the most interesting thing about your pet. Pay attention to the expression that grabs you the most. Let them show their personality by being playful with them. Expect to take lots of photos before you get one that works – Fido won’t be the most cooperative of subjects, but hang in there and you’ll capture a photo you like!

Take Photos of Them in a Good Environment
Take pictures of your pets where they feel relaxed and safe. Most animals love nature so try shooting outdoors. You can also pick a place that inspires and excites both you and your pet. Just be aware and be careful of your surroundings when shooting outdoors.

Take Candid Shots
Take photos of your pets when they’re not aware of you. Watch out for their silly habits. Animals really look cute when they’re behaving spontaneously.

Shoot On Your Pet’s Eye View Level
Shooting at eye level adds intimacy to the image. You can also try shooting below eye level to get a unique perspective of your pet. Most of our pets are smaller than us so you would either have to crouch down or put them on a chair or sofa. Get close to them as much as possible. The goal is to fill the entire image with your pet. Eyes are the most expressive part of an animal’s face so focus on the eyes.

Mix up your framing
Shoot from different angles and perspectives. Pay attention to the rule of thirds. Try framing your pet to focus on single features like eyes, nose, whiskers or teeth. Take full body shots as well as half and three quarter body shots.

Set up your lighting and camera
Use constant, soft, even light. You can go to a shady spot with ample light. Use reflective light to avoid harsh shadows. Use burst mode for capturing activities like running and jumping. If your pets have dark fur, you can use flash. However, if you use flash don’t point the flash directly at them. Experiment with your camera’s settings to get the best images.

Be Patient
Take your time and have fun shooting. You would probably have to shoot a lots and lots of pictures to get quality photos. Just be ready to take pictures of the most unpredictable moments.

The Good News
Even if the photo isn’t perfect, with clutter in the background or the photographer’s foot in the shot, for example, all is not lost. The artist can remove unwanted items, zoom in on the pet, alter backgrounds etc. as needed. As long as the pet looks okay in the photo, everything else can be fixed by a talented artist with a brush and paints!

The image above was taken by a professional photographer who specializes in animal portraiture…a reminder of what is possible!

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