We all love a good pet photo, in fact it’s probably most of our favs! Send us the puppy pics!
Photographing a pet can be trickier than photographing a hyper toddler but when you get that perfect shot, there is nothing more rewarding.
If we could only tell you one key to pet photography, it would be patience.
The best portrait will be when you catch Patches in his element, so don’t try to pose him and place him in yours.?
But aside from that, we do have a few other tricks up our sleeve to make your puppy (or kitty, or…squirrelly?) pics look like the pros!
1. Focus on the Eyes
Just like with human photography, it’s important to focus your lens on the eyes of your pet.
Most people think that if they point the camera at the subject and auto focus it does what it’s supposed to, but that is not the case when you are using a shallow depth of field (large aperture). The camera will always focus on the object closest to it, which in most cases, is the snout, and that throws the eyes slightly out of focus. You will need to either switch your camera to manual focus or make sure the focus brackets are placed directly on the eyes.
For more playful pets you may not have time to focus properly on the eyes. In this case, make sure you use a deep depth of field (small aperture) so that the camera will focus on more of the face than just the nose.
2. Use a Fast Shutter Speed for Active Pets
Your DSLR camera will have a “Shutter Priority” mode you can use to set the shutter speed to a faster mode. It will then take care of all the other settings for you. If you’re a little more knowledgeable about your camera, though, you can just set it to manual mode and adjust all your settings. A normal shutter speed is about 1/60, or 1/60th of a second. The higher the bottom number, the higher the shutter speed.
For slower, calmer pets, you won’t need a faster shutter speed than 1/60, but if you have a playful puppy who refuses to sit still, you’ll have to catch him in action with a faster setting.
3. Shoot from Their Point of View
Try switching up the angles when photographing your pet.
Get down on their level and try to capture the world as they see it.
This might require some stooping, bending and kneeling but the results will be totally worth it!
4. Prepare Your Location
Pets aren’t usually like children in that you can just pose them in front of a backdrop and shoot away.
You will have to clear an entire area and scope out your lighting situation. Choose a room that’s well-lit and close it off for the shoot, giving your animal free reign to roam where he pleases. Or you might try taking your pics outside in the back yard or at the park.
The important thing is that the area is clutter-free and full of light, so that wherever your pet goes you have a chance of getting a clear photo.
5. Capture Their Personality
You know your pet best and the most cherished portraits will be the ones that show off their unique personalities.
Catching them in their element will help like playing with their favorite toy or lounging in their favorite spot. But also look for moments when they are just being themselves with their most common facial expressions. Only pet owners will understand this, but every pet does have a unique personality. Maybe Fluffy is melancholy and you can photograph her looking out the window groggily after her nap. Or maybe Spot is mischievous and you can get a shot of him peeking out from under the coffee table.
Do You Shoot Pets?
Don’t tell your neighbors! Because once they figure out that you don’t actually “shoot” pets, they’ll expect you to be available to photograph theirs. This may sound like fun at first, but it can quickly become a job. That’s a bonus piece of advice!
The beautiful thing about digital photography is that you can take as many shots as you want and only choose to print the ones you like, so don’t be afraid to keep shooting and experimenting with different environments, lighting and camera settings.
Pet photography can be a little challenging, but just like photographing anything else your photos will improve with time and practice.
You got this girl! Now, you deserve a treat!