Pets are a member of the family so why wouldn’t you want to capture their precious moments for your photo album? Getting great shots of animals can be tricky but with a bit of patience and these 5 tips you will get a perfect shot of your beloved pet.
Spanador Pet Photo Image: Lucky You Media
1. Position Taking a picture from above while looking down isn’t usually the most flattering position. And your pet is probably going to get tired of looking up to you. So get down to their level (this the same rule of thumb for photographing kids too). Imagine your camera as an eye. Generally you are going to get the best angle when you are on the same level as your pet. If you can’t get low enough, try getting your pet to sit on a stool, bench or lounge.
2. Focus Great portraits of people have the eyes of the subject as the focus. The same goes for all photos of animals. When you look at a photo next, make a note of the first thing you notice. Humans are programmed to make eye contact so our eye naturally searches for the “windows to the soul” in a picture. It helps us to try and ‘read’ the image. The same rule applies when you are capturing an action shot of your pet; easier said than done right! With action shots, if you can see the activity and energy in the photo, you have done a great job.
Focus on the eyes. Not her nose! Image: Lucky You Media
3. Patience Both you and your pet need to be in the mood to get a really good shot. Encourage your pet and praise them so that they learn to enjoy having their picture taken as well. Some pets, especially dogs, will be very curious about your camera. Let them get comfortable, take your time and use treats to your advantage! If you have an assistant, have them bring the treat down to the camera level so your pet looks directly at the camera. This helps bring the eyes into focus of the picture.
4. Lighting You will get the best action shots when you have a lot of light, especially natural sunlight. Try to capture your pet playing with a toy, catching a frisbee or in a mid air jump for that ball. The light will mean that you will have a fast enough shutter speed to ‘freeze motion’ and get your pet in action.
Pet action photo Image: Lucky You Media
Indoors, or low light times of the day, you will notice blur in your shots if there is too much movement. Have your pet sit quietly for a portrait. Keep them calm. Try to remove all clutter from the background of your shot and really focus in on your pet.
5. Props There are similarities with photographing pets and children. Along with treats, props can be your secret weapon. Dogs have sensitivity to high pitch noises, so use a toy or whistle to make them prick their ears and tilt their head to give you a perfect pose. Cats are attracted to movement so a laser pointer or ribbon on a stick can get their attention. Props can also be as simple as a cuddly blanket to soothe your pet or add humour with silly props (wigs, costumes, etc). Just be patient as your pet may be more interested in the prop.
Pet photography props Image: Lucky You Media
If you really want to capture a special image of your pet be persistent. Some of the best wildlife and animal photographers can take hundreds of shots to get that one special image. In the days of digital photography, taking lots of pictures doesn’t cost you anything but time. So snap away and you will be sure to capture a stunning pet portrait worthy of adding to your family gallery.
Do you have any tips that have worked for you? Share them with us here!