Pets usually take their place in our hearts very quickly. So who doesn’t enjoy having their pictures framed on the office desk or wall!? However, as most of you will know, taking pictures of your furry friend is not always easy (in fact, it never really is). Pets, unlike most humans, do not quite understand what we are trying to achieve, and usually won’t just pose for the camera! So, to help you out here are 9 tips that should help you get the most out of your photo session:
1. Use Natural Light
Wherever possible use natural light when taking your pet in picture. Try to avoid flash, as flash burst can not only cause red-eye, but will most likely frighten the animal. Instead why not shoot outside or, if it not possible, in a room well lit by a large window?
2. Keep the Eyes Sharp
Having sharp eyes is key in successful portrait photography. As they say, “Eyes are the Window to the Soul”. Needless to say that your pet’s eyes can be very expressive. So do make sure your focus is on your pet’s eyes and keep the tack sharp!
3. Go to Them
It is super important that your pet feels as comfortable as possible, so instead of forcing him to come to you go to him. Most important is actually to get down to his level; We all know how a dog looks when viewed from above, this will be the way most people see them. So why not show us the way they see world! Sit down on the floor (or lie on your belly), and always remember: shoot from HIS eye level or below.
4. Give Value to their Character
You know your pet better than anyone else. A successful picture is therefore one that conveys the character of its subject. If you have a lazy cat show him yawning, if your animal is the playful type you’ll want to show him in action, performing his favourite trick.
5. Go Macro
Put on that long lens and fill the frame with your pet’s face and fur (remember, focus is on the eyes). Close up shots often make the most beautiful animal portrait.
6. Surprise Them
You’ll agree that one of the most difficult things is to let your pet hold still (do they ever?) Here’s an easy trick: Let him play quietly, then (once you have everything ready) let someone call for him or whistle. This will definitely surprise him and catch his attention, so you’ll have a few seconds to capture him in a nice and alert posture.
7. Schedule your Session
If a more formal pet portrait shot is what you’re after, try to schedule the photo session when your furry little friend is somewhat sleepy (or has just woken up). You’ll see, it will be much easier to keep him still then. If you want a more dynamic shot then pick up the time when your pet is most energetic.
8. Be Patient
Pet photography requires loads of patience (if you read this post until this point you should be ok). No matter how excited your pet is, if you’re patient enough, he will at some point end up relaxing and you will get the decent shots you want.
Take your time and, most of all, enjoy the session! Try different approaches, angles and compositions. Anything goes! And always shoot a lot, as you’ll have time to worry about the results later.