Author: Johnny Bonds
Wanting to capture your pet in the best possible way? Let’s take a look at how to get the best images of your pets, and what you can do with your masterpieces.
For many pet lovers, capturing the perfect picture of your pet can be a daunting task, unless they are peacefully slumbering. However, if you are thinking of a profession in this area, or you just want to shoot a frame-worthy image of your furry friend, there are some simple and effective methods to use.
Set the scene
Before you get snapping it’s a good idea to set your scene. Take a look at the backdrop and determine if this is the look you are wanting to achieve. Outdoors is a great backdrop for many pet photos, but it’s also important to check your lighting. Natural light is wonderful, but shadows can pose a problem. Consider shooting during days that have high clouds or get creative with your beautiful blue sky. Changing your perspective (shooting upwards or at eye level) can allow you to use the sky as a backdrop without worrying about shadows. Don’t be afraid to lie on the ground or elevate your pet safely onto a table so you can try out different angles.
If you are shooting indoors, consider using contrasting colours to place your pet on, or dropping back sheets to create a more professional feel to your images. You can also play around with lamps and lights to create a warm feeling for your images. Always check your photos as you shoot. Check for shadows or any unusual lighting that may need to be adjusted during the photo session.
If you are lucky enough to have access to a professional photo studio, being prepared is key. Nadia Crighton, former Editor of Dogs Life Magazine suggests having a few photo models. “We would always suggest having more than four puppies present,” she says. “You would always have one that would be a little more sleepy and exhausted from playing. These pups would make the perfect model and would sit or lie happily for the camera.”
All about the squeaker
When taking photos consider using a squeaker toy to grab your pet’s attention to look at the camera. Eye contact with the camera can make for a stunning photo, use a few different toys and also remember to allow your pet to have some playtime between the shoots. This will also give you a moment to sift through the images to see if you have captured the perfect shot or what you may need to adjust in terms of lighting and your pet’s position. Treats are also a good distraction for your pet to listen to, however, it is advised you have a wet cloth on hand to clean up any drool or mess from your pet’s face during the photo shoot. Having at least two people present is also a good idea. So you can stay behind the camera and quickly snap once your pet is in place. Some top tips include:
- Ensure your pet is not overly excited or calm them down beforehand
- Get your scene ready
- Check your camera on the scene (best to use a tripod for this)
- Take some sample images to check lighting
- Position your pet with a treat
- Use a squeaker toy from behind the camera to gain your pet’s attention.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
If your pet starts to get overly excited, take a break and give them a good play session or quick run. Then clean them off with your wet cloth and start again. It’s important to keep the photoshoot upbeat and fun for you and your pet.
Got It! Here’s what to do with the perfect picture
Don’t be surprised if you have over 300 images and only four or five really good shots. This is very common when it comes to pet photography. You can also touch any slight mishaps up (a bit of drool or grass coming from your pet’s mouth) on a program before hitting print.
With so many wonderful stock photography sites available you can upload your images to be used around the world by pet websites. Other ideas include:
- Turning the image black and white
- Framing the image
- Printing to canvas
- Making cards out of your images
- Selling to stock photography websites.
Thank you to Nadia Crighton, former Editor of Dogs Life Magazine, for the help with this article.