Taking pet pictures helps us immortalize those candid or exciting moment so we can relive them months or years into the future. However, we all know that photographing your pets is a much different task than snapping some pictures of friends, family, or a beautiful landscape. While we all love our companions, they don’t always listen, so capturing those key seconds the way we see them can be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you get the best shots of your favorite animal friends.
Get them Used to the Equipment
Make sure your pet is comfortable with the device(s) you’re using to capture them with. The sound of the shutter can sometimes frighten or alter the mood of an animal companion who is not accustomed to it. Let them examine the camera – from a safe distance of course! Make sure that you aren’t doing anything else out of the ordinary because your pet may begin to wonder what is different about this scenario and become frightened or guarded. Nonchalantly begin taking pictures and don’t start distracting them with treats or talking in a different voice than usual.
Angles & Perspectives
Change the camera angle / perspective. Some of the most compelling pictures come from the eye level of our friends. Get down and capture what the world is like for them with them in it. Experiment with different perspectives. Take shots from behind, below, from the side, and even upside down.
Backgrounds & Contrast
Be aware of your surroundings. Make sure that you’re not capturing an overly complex background that will draw the viewers eyes away from your subject. Simple backgrounds that contrast with your pet will make them “pop” and create the most compelling images.
How to Get a Smile
If you’re going for dog pictures and want to see that pearly white smile then make sure to run them a little bit beforehand. Play with them for a few minutes and you’ll see that happy active grin show up. Your furry companion will have all their attention on you, so you can get great portrait shots as well!
Lots of Pictures
Take lots of shots! You aren’t going to get the best shot every first, second, third, or even fiftieth time in most cases. Memory is cheap these days but great memories are priceless! Snap the same shot from different angles, trace your eye around the shot and make sure there isn’t something in it that you don’t want. Try portrait shots, landscape shots, different exposures. Odds are you won’t know which shot was the best until you review them afterwards, so take plenty.
Finally, a little post-processing can really give that extra kick to an otherwise mediocre image. There are plenty of free image manipulation tools on the web such as GIMP, if you don’t already have access to one. Mess with the saturation, exposure, and contrast. Remember that small tweaks go a long way unless you’re going for a very surreal look. There are plenty of short and simple YouTube tutorials out there as well targeted specifically at individuals taking shots of their pets. Now get out there and snap some shots of your animal companions!
Here’s a video from Carli Davidson, a Portland pet photographer!