Whether you are wanting to get a treasured photo your own family pet or you would like to photograph pets as a part of your photography business, there are a few things you should know before you just show up with your camera and expecting award winning pet photos. Here are a five tips to help you get the photos you’re looking for.
Tip #1 – Patience
First and foremost we must realize that stunning photos of pets involve a lot of patience. Waiting for that right pose or expression that represents the character of the pet may take a little time. Sometimes we get lucky and it happens very quickly, then there are the other times when it feels like we will never get THE shot! It can be frustrating but extremely rewarding.
Tip # 2 – Shoot Often
Shooting continuously can accomplish a couple of things. First it gets the pet used to the sound of the camera, second it allows you to capture candid shots in between formal poses. You might be surprised at some of the images you captured when you review them.
Tip #3 – Use Different Angles
The eyes are the most important part of the photograph. The character and soul of the pet can be more dramatically captured by getting down to their eye level. Shooting down from above by standing on a chair or something solid can also product effective and unique photos. Be adventurous! Experimenting with different angles may also generate exceptional portraits. Remember, the eyes must be in perfect focus.
Tip # 4 – Toys & Treats
There tends to be some controversy on the use of pet toys and treats to stimulate the pet in order to make a more appealing shot. On the one hand, the toys and treats can help you get more intense and striking images but on the other hand, some animals will become over-stimulated and become difficult to work with. Talking with the owner and observing the animal under both circumstances before the shoot can help you decide whether or not to use the props.
Tip # 5 – Composition
We can get so busy trying to get that perfect expression or interesting shot that we forget what is around us and in the background. Make a visual check through the viewfinder to see if you are using the rules of good composition. Are you using your thirds? Is the background uncluttered? Does the background complement the subject?
For example; it may not be wise to shoot a black dog with a dark background. If you find your location is not working, move around to the other side or change locations completely. It can make the difference between an ordinary shot and a stunning portrait.
There are a lot of things to remember in a very short space of time when you are working with animals. Taking pet portraits is challenging to say the least but is extremely rewarding. Capturing for the owner the essence and character of their much loved family pet turns that stunning portrait into a priceless memory for them.