Your pets are part of the family, and you may desire to have high quality photographs starring your furry friends. While you can snap a shot of your pets at any time you like, you may be looking for a way to create more memorable photographs that you and your family can enjoy for years to come.
Below are some simple tips that will make capturing the perfect shot of your furry family friend easier to achieve. Keep in mind that your pets don’t realize that you are taking the photograph, and will bore quickly unless you find ways to make pet photography fun. As always, the health and well-being of your pet is of the highest priority – so ensure that the photography process does not stress them out.
Develop A Plan Of Action
First you want to begin by creating a clearly defined plan of action and set of goals. There are many types of pet photography you may want to explore with your furry friends over the years. This could be anything from a celebratory picture on their birthday, photos while at play, photos with the family, or photos in a holiday costume.
My cat Dapper
In a perfect world, you could simply plan the shots you want to take – and then execute a quick photo shoot. However, when working with your furry friends you will need to teach them new commands that will help you achieve successful pet photography. As with any new commands, practice makes perfect. If you have a special pose you would like them to strike, or commands that prompts them to look at you (or the camera) it will take time and patience to develop their skills.
If you will be using a camera with a flash, or professional lighting begin, to introduce your pet to that setting prior to the actual photo shoot. However, you will have the most success if you are able to utilize stationary lighting, natural lighting – and avoid the flash on your camera altogether.
Also keep in mind that your pet does not understand what you are practicing for, or that they are the star of your photography session – so it is important to reward them with a treat, with play, with affection during and after the photo shoot.
Find The Right Environment
What pet photography has in common with all other types of photography, is that location is key. Begin by defining whether you want to photograph your pet indoors or outdoors, and consider what type of background you would like in the photograph. Also keep your furry friends likes and dislikes in mind when choosing the location. For example, if your dog is not fond of the fireplace, it may make a beautiful background – but is not the ideal setting for your pet photography session.
My dog Rex
Preparing in advance is essential for a successful pet photography session. For example, if you will be shooting outside you will need to find a time of day that has both adequate natural lighting – and weather your pet is comfortable in.
Also consider any background distractions such as outdoor traffic, or indoor foot traffic in your home. Once you find your pet photography session, begin to play with your pet in the area and get them comfortable with the surrounding – especially if it is not somewhere that they frequent on a regular basis.
The location of a shoot may take longer for a caged pet such as a bird to get used to, since they are likely most confident and comfortable in their cage.
Also consider creating a makeshift background for your pet photography session. You can do this by hanging a solid color, or creatively patterned piece of fabric, bed sheet, or even a bath towel behind the area you will be photographing your pet. Adding a background will allow you to photograph your furry friends in an area they are already comfortable with – however they may need time to adjust to the makeshift background you have created. Prior to shooting your pet in front of the background, take some test shots and play with the different ways you can blur the background to create more of an artistic effect.
If you are able to invest in a telephoto lens, you can enhance your pet photography session. A telephoto lens will allow you to zoom in and get a close shot of your pet’s face – while maintaining a comfortable distance. If you will be photographing your furry friends on a surface that is several feet lower than you, you may want to shoot your photos while sitting or lying on the ground so that the angle of your shots is not always a downward one.
My cat Pearl
There are many ways to make your pet photography session fun, and your photos more unique – adding props is just one of them. Props could be anything from your pet’s favorite toy, a costume, stuffed animal, or a new stool or chair they are sitting on. Any new prop you are considering should be something you introduce your pet to prior to the date of your photo shoot.
Capture Their Attention
To capture the perfect shot of your furry friends, utilize a combination of commands and toys to redirect their attention. You could do this by having a friend or family member who your pet is familiar with stand in the area you would like them to look at, while talking to them or calling their name. You could utilize a flashlight to guide their eyes toward a different direction. You could also dangle a toy somewhere outside of the shot that will capture their attention.
The Day Of
When the day of your pet photography session finally arrives, you are sure to be filled with excitement and anticipation. Keep in mind that while you may be excited about your pet photography session, your furry friends have no idea what you are up to. Pets have minimal attention spans, so you need to have everything prepared and ready to go before you place them “on set.” Also keep in mind their behavior and mood the day of the shoot. For example, giving your cat catnip prior to the shoot may make them to rambunctious – unless you are hoping for an action shoot.
Getting The Shot
Now that you are ready to begin your pet photography session, introduce your pet to their set or backdrop. Ensure that there are no shadows that will find their way into your shot. Talk to your furry friends during the shoot, and celebrate their patience and good behavior. Also be patient and understanding if you are having a difficult time keeping them in the position you would like.
In the jungle
By following the tips above you can increase your odds of a successful pet photography session, and capture memorable shots of your furry friends that you will have to enjoy for years to come.
Until next time……