7 Tips to take Incredible Pictures of your Pet
Let’s face it, pets are hard to photograph…..just like kids sometimes! They don’t like to sit still, they have an itch or just want to go to…oh wait…SQUIRREL! Anyway, most of the time pets are just to distracted or wanting to love up on you or their owners. If I am photographing a customers pet, I always ask if they have a favorite toy or treat and ask them to bring it along to their session. I will explain in detail what I do with these below!
Here are some of my tips and tricks to “getting that perfect shot”.
1.) Relax – both you and the pet.
One of the best things you can do around a pet when photographing them is relax. Animals are very sensitive to their surroundings and strangers. So if you are at a location other than their home, chances are they will be skittish. Take some time and let the pet get used to their surroundings. If you are relaxed, so will the pet be!
2.) Get to know each other.
I always make an attempt to take a few minutes with the pet before I begin photographing to get used to the pet and to allow them to get used to me. Pet them, feed them their favorite treat, talk to them or throw a ball, they usually warm up pretty quickly if you are relaxed and loving.
3.) Let them get to know your gear!
Let them check out your camera, no seriously. Chances are the pet has never seen a camera like yours and this big black thing that makes all kinds of strange noises can be intimidating! Let them sniff it out while you hold it, that way when you do finally start photographing they are used to the clicks.
Now it’s time to start photographing!
4.) Be calm and make sure the owner is too!
There is no quicker way to confuse or frustrate the animal than to have orders being shouted one right after the other, animals love to please, so keeping a calm and loving voice along with your body language will do you wonders!
5.) Getting their attention.
I love to talk to the animals softly, tell them what a good dog he/she is, ask them if they would like a treat (most dogs know what you are talking about), or softly say the animals name. Talking to the animal will get him to look at you and usually perk up his ears. Even soft whistles or clicks will do the trick!
Hold a treat in your hand or their favorite toy! I know with my Border Collie, Rebel (pictured below) I hold a stick right above my camera to get his ears to perk up and him to actually look at me!
Whenever you are photographing a human or creature it is always best to focus on their eyes. A human/animals face is usually their focal point, I don’t know anyone who looks at a photograph and says “oh what nice feet they have!”. You always want the eyes/face to be sharp, not blurry with their feet in focus. Most DLSR cameras now have to option to manually choose your focal point (see your owner’s manual for more details), letting the camera choose for you may work sometimes, but not always, so manually choosing your focal point is your best bet.
7.) Have fun and shoot!
Now that I have shared my tips/tricks of pet photography, the fun begins! The best tip I can give you is to just have fun with the pet, if you aren’t having fun, neither will they. Don’t be afraid to try new things when shooting anything! Try a wide angle lens or a macro, who knows what you can discover or learn when you experiment!