For this week’s Wisdom Wednesday we will be coving our top ten tips for getting the very best pet photography!
If you own a Pet, chances are that you will want to capture their precious moments for your own personal collection or to share with all of your friends/family! The problem comes down to the fact that your furry friend wants nothing to do with your photography shoots and would much rather be doing anything else!
That is why this week we wanted to focus on some helpful tips to make Pet photography a slightly more enjoyable and easy experience.
Let’s Break it down!
Natural lighting is your friend
There are multiple reasons why flash is usually a total no-no with pet photography. First of all, flash is bright and can be unnerving for any animal. The flash can scare them or make them nervous and hide. (poor guys!) Additionally, flash is harsh and can completely wash out your animal’s beautiful white fur or feathers. My personal biggest issue is that flash will cause most animals to close their eyes for the photo! It can sometimes be cute to have a squinty pet, but for the most part we want to see those gorgeous eyes. Another minimal reason is the possibility of red eye (Like humans), but this one can be pretty easily fixed in post so it isn’t a huge issue. Lastly, be careful when flashing a fish tank or a pet in a metal cage due to the reflection of the flash.
Capture that character!
One of the most important aspects of snapping your pet is thinking about the character that will be represented with your photos. Every animal (Yes even fish!) has its own unique personality, which we fall in love with. You want to celebrate these different personalities, so it is important to capture them in their natural goofy state. For example, if your pet is super energetic and crazy be sure to capture some action shots or even take your dog to the park to really let them be themselves! (“Freeeeeedom!”)
Backdrop Used: Light Tunnel Backdrop
Keep the eyes sharp
As we discussed earlier, keeping their eyes open for the photo will be near impossible if you are using a flash. An animal’s eyes are absolutely beautiful and usually contain amazing patterns and colors that you want to keep crisp and clear for your shots. Their eyes are often extremely expressive as well and give another opportunity to showcase their wonderful personality.
Photographing a person can be a pretty quick and simple experience because you can GIVE THEM INSTRUCTIONS. Animals can listen to simple commands but it always seems like when you want to take their picture they decide to completely ignore you. (We have all been there) Patience is going to be absolutely key here! Eventually your little friend will either get tired and stay still for some shots or you could get lucky and hold their attention long enough for them to stop moving. Either way, be sure to constantly be ready for the opportune moment with your camera in hand and focus on the prize. (Think of it like a stake out!)
Now this photo took some SERIOUS patience
Get nice and close
While our pets may be the focus of YOUR life, others may lose them in your photos due to their small size. Of course getting close to Fido is not always the easiest thing in the world, especially if you have a pet that likes to move around, but I can definitely say it’s worth making the effort to get right up in their business! This will allow for them to be the focal point of the image and once again better display their personality. If you can’t physically get close to your pet get your camera equipped with a zoom lens. The added benefit of a long focal length is that it will help with isolating your pet in terms of depth of field (ie give you a nice blurry background so that your pet is center of attention with no distractions). Also, if you are willing to get on those hand an knees, don’t be afraid to take out that macro lens for some super high quality shots!
Get on their level
Pay attention to your camera settings
If you are having difficulty capturing your moving pet, try paying attention to what settings you are shooting with. Give ‘burst mode’ a try, allowing you to take many photos in succession so you are more likely to get one that works. Also, try upping that shutter speed to allow your camera to better grab those quick movements. I find that 1/250 sec can be a great setting to freeze grab all of those jerky pet movements!
Remember that if you get some shots that are blurred try rolling with it. A blurry photo can be super expressive and a nice change from the normal animal photographs you see.
Pets are generally very playful and rather than attempting to contain this lovely expression, it’s often very effective to go with their playfulness and make it a central feature of your image. Include their toys, stimulate them to look longingly into your camera by holding a special treat above your head, or take a picture with them sitting on top of you mid wrestle! Make your photo shoot a fun experience for both you and your pet and your shots are likely to reflect it!
Don’t be afraid to have a friend or child jump into the action with your pet photoshoot. Your pet most likely loves humans, so if you throw some people into the mix you will be amazed by the cuteness that can come out. You will really be able to capture your pet in their comfort zone and create memories for everyone in the process! (You can knock out multiple camera shoots with one stone as well!)
As always, we hope this installment of Wisdom Wednesdays was insightful and can propel your photography career to new heights! Photographing pets can be a challenge but can also be some of your most fun shoots! Never be afraid to take on challenges with you photography and always remember to have fun!
–Until Next Time