Is your dog the cutest pooch on the block? Is your cat the prettiest feline in town? Learn how to take photographs of your pet that you will be proud to show off to family and friends. You don’t necessarily need a high-end camera or have to be a professional photographer to take great photos of your pets. Here are some simple pet photography tips to get you started.
Choosing the Moment - Spontaneity is the key when it comes to photographing animals. While dogs may be able to obey commands helpful to a photographer, such as “sit” or “stay,” taking photos of cats and other pets may not be as easy to orchestrate on demand. Try taking photos of pets after feeding time, when they are likely to be more relaxed. Most pets are creatures of habit, so observe them and arrange your photo shoots around the times when you think they will make the most cooperative and adorable.
All about Lighting - Natural light should be used whenever possible when photographing pets. Just like with people, animals can suffer from “red eyes” or “glowing eyes” when a flash is used. If you are not intending to make your pet appear demonic, take photos on a sunny day and in an outdoor setting. If you have indoor-only pets, find the room in your home with the best natural light source. While it may be tempting to use a flash in certain situations, keep in mind that the bright light can scare and distract some animals.
Composing the Scene - Toss that tripod. Well, not literally, but photography experts recommend getting down to your pets’ level in order to frame your scene. Your focus should be on the eyes of your pet. To best highlight your pet, make the background neutral and let it be slightly blurry by choosing a wide aperture. Pets are often on the move, and in order to keep up with their pace, consider shooting in continuous mode, which will capture a burst of images.
Personality is Everything - While most people think smiling helps to make a great photograph, with pets, your job is to showcase their unique personalities. Think about professional pet photographs you see in books and on greeting cards. The sad, droopy Basset Hound or the grumpy-looking Himalayan cat. Adorable, aren’t they? If you have a goofy Labrador Retriever who loves tennis balls more than anything, then you know what to use as the ideal prop. Have a cat who “owns” the living room recliner and gives a dirty look at the mere suggestion of moving? Then you know when and where to snap Fluffy’s photo. Capturing your pets in their most natural moments will lead to memorable photographs that will be keepsakes.
Smartphone Camera Tips - While cameras on the elite smartphones have grown quite impressively in quality over the years, it’s doubtful they will ever replace a professional standalone camera, which offers the manual control that is essential for serious photographers. But let’s face it, the average person carries around their phone with them a lot more than their camera. So by all means, utilize your smartphone camera to capture those spontaneous moments. The rules are similar to any other camera. Try to use natural light whenever possible, use continuous shooting mode for action shots and consider using panorama mode to capture a wide scene, such as a dog going after a Frisbee, or a pet parade. The nice thing about capturing photos with your smartphone is you can easily upload them to Facebook, Twitter or email them to your friends and family.
The most important thing to remember when taking photos of pets is to have fun and enjoy the moment with your furry friends. Pets easily pick up on their owner’s emotions, so keep the moment light and casual in order to accurately capture your pet’s individual personality.