When your pet is so irresistibly cute, you just want to take photos of them all the time. However, hyper puppies and kittens can be tricky to photograph, as they rarely sit still and don’t really understand how to pose for a picture.
With a lot of patience and a bit of practice, though, it’s possible to capture some wonderful photos of your pet. Here are six tips to help.
Avoid using flash
Always photograph your pets in natural light and avoid using your camera’s flash. As it’s very harsh, the sudden flash of light may startle and frighten your pet. Plus it’s prone to causing red eye. Instead, take your photographs in a room with a large window that lets in lots of light, or simply head outside!
Get down to their level
We all know what cats and dogs look like from above, as that’s how we see them every day. To get the best shots, therefore, you need to get down to their level. Do this by lying on your belly or squatting (depending on how big or small your pet is!) – the shots you take from this angle will show the world as your pet sees it, which makes for a much more interesting, and intimate, photo.
Professional photographer Mel Taylor notes that the location of the photoshoot is important too.
“Ensure the location you pick is safe and suitable for the animal you are working with – if they are not good with livestock, don’t shoot where there are sheep or cattle grazing. If they are chasers, don’t shoot where there are likely to be squirrels, rabbits, or too many other dogs.”
Capture action shots
Taking photos of your pet asleep or relaxing is all well and good, but if you truly want to capture their personality you need to take photos of them playing, running and jumping. To make sure you get clear, non-blurry photos of your pet, you’ll need to set your digital camera to a fast shutter speed.
This can be done in one of two ways – you can either set your camera to shutter priority mode or sports mode. In the former, the camera will decide which aperture will work best with your chosen shutter speed; in the latter, the camera will pick the fastest shutter speed it can for the conditions in which you’re shooting. It’s a good idea to experiment with your camera’s settings and see which shots come out best.
Timing is, of course, essential when it comes to action shots. Turn on burst mode to take a series of photos just as your cat is jumping or your dog is shaking themselves dry. This will increase the chances of you taking at least one decent photo.
Always focus on their eyes
The eyes are the windows to the soul, so the saying goes, and we think that’s certainly true of animals. Your pet’s eyes are the most expressive part of them; it’s vital they are in focus.
Speaking to Digital Trends, pet and landscape photographer Josh Norem, says: “If the eyes aren’t in focus, the shot is wasted, end of discussion. The way to do this is to make sure you know which focus point is active; don’t let your camera control it, because it will usually focus on what’s closest to the camera (the animal’s nose). You can always change focus points from ‘auto’ to ‘single point’.”
Patience is key
Getting the perfect shot of your pet won’t happen instantly. After all, your cat or dog doesn’t understand what you’re trying to do and may not know what you want from them, especially if they’ve never had a camera stuck in their face before.
“Don’t get stressed,” states Mel. “If things are not going to plan, animals can sense it immediately.”
Let your pet have a break every half an hour or so to ensure you’re not putting too much pressure on them, or yourself. Try and turn your mini photoshoot into playtime by using toys to get some good snaps. Be sure to reward them with the odd treat to let them know they’re doing a good job, too.
Use a selfie stick
Some of the best animal photos are taken when the pet is unaware of your presence. Use a selfie stick to get your smartphone over fences, around corners and under tables to take some great, natural photos of your dog or cat.
Hopefully the above tips will help you take some more interesting and intimate photos of your beloved pet. If you have any photos of your pets you’d like to share with us, please post them in the comments!