Photography & Digital Arts


Take Great Pictures of Your Pet: Capture Memorable Photos of Cats, Dogs, Birds and Other Pets

The biggest challenge to taking great pet photographs is that pets don’t always sit still, and they rarely respond to commands like, “Turn your head to the left,” or “Place your left paw on top of your right.” Still, it’s possible to capture great candid pet photos with a little practice and attention to detail.

Be Patient

First and foremost, be patient. Pets can sense frustration, and a rambunctious puppy can turn into a very unwilling photo subject when scolded or startled.

Prepare the Shoot Area and Equipment

Tidy up the area where the shoot will take place. Remove clutter and seek out neutral backgrounds. Indoors, for example, turn off the television. Outdoors, move things like trash cans out of view. Remove anything in the background that might draw attention away from your pet (or, that might draw your pet’s attention away from you).

If possible, shoot with natural light. Outdoor shots or shots made near a window indoors will have a more pleasing and natural appearance. If you must use a flash, soften its light a bit by covering the flash with tissue paper or sheer cloth. If the flash is detached from the camera, point it at the wall or ceiling instead of at your pet. The light will bounce off the wall and will be more pleasing than the direct flash.

Use a fast shutter speed on your camera to freeze action and movement. This will prevent blurring if (and when) your pet moves. If you don’t have or want to use manual controls on the camera, choose the “sports” mode or “kid/pet” mode on your camera.

Compose a Great Shot

The easiest way to push your pet photos from ordinary to wow is to get down low. Take photos from your pet’s level instead of from human standing level. Get down on your knees. Lie down if you have to! Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty. Do whatever it takes to shoot photos at your pet’s eye level. This helps to create a connection between the viewer and the pet in the finished photo.

Speaking of eyes – if the photo includes your pet’s eyes, do your best to get the eyes in sharp focus. They say the eyes are windows to the soul, and it’s as true with pets as it is with humans.

Experiment with various shooting angles. If your pet is sitting on a table, try shooting from below. Shoot from the side. Shoot from behind. Shoot from in front of your pet. Move around and look at your pet from all angles. The best perspective could be just a step away.

Fill the frame with your pet. This draws attention to the subject (in this case, your cat, dog, bird, or other special pet). A photo of your pet’s face will have much more impact than a photo of your pet, your car, your patio set, and the garden hose on the front lawn.

Try taking unexpected close up shots, such as your pet’s paws, nose, whiskers, or ears. These can make great abstract photos, and can be hung as a collection of intimate moments with your pet.

Interact with Loved Ones

Photos of pets and their best human friends can be heartwarming treasures. Have the human subjects interact with the pet, as opposed to looking at the camera. This is a great way to catch candid shots.

With these tips, photos of your favorite pets can take on a fresh, natural look. Spend some time with Fido this weekend and capture some great memories with your four-legged friend.

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