Pet Photography Tips and Techniques

Relax
Animals are like little emotional sponges, and if you are stressed and anxious, they will sense it and become stressed and anxious too. Plan time into your schedule for you and your model to relax.

Express Yourself
The eyes are the most expressive part of an animal’s face,so if you want to create really engaging portraits,focus on the eyes and facial expressions.

Look at Your Back Ground First
An uncluttered environment produces more aesthetically pleasing images, and reduces post-processing work. Before you even pull your camera out of your bag, take a look around at your shooting location and get rid of clutter and distracting objects first.

Shoot Down at their Level
While a few shots looking down at your pet, while you are standing can be cute – to create the really engaging portraits make sure you are at eye level with your pet.

Be Flexible
Be prepared to get those muscles working in order to get the perfect composition. You will need to spend time crouching, turning and twisting to get that perfect photo.

Go Where the Light Is Best
Good light is everything in photography, especially in pet photography, where it’s critical to be able to see the catchlights in the pet’s eyes (the white reflective parts).

Make It a Treat to Work with You
Every animal needs to have some sort of motivation to pay attention to you during the shoot; otherwise they will wander off and become disinterested.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
The most compelling pictures say something. It can be a cat playing with their favorite toy or a dog watching his pet parent intently. Think about what you want your photo to “say” or what trait behavior you want to capture of your pets.

Quiet Time 
There is no quicker way to confuse a dog, or freak out a cat than to bark commands at them repeatedly. Cats will disengage or even leave the room, and dogs will become confused and concerned.

Non Verbal
Try communicating with the pets the way they do each other- non verbally. Use hand signals or point to invite them ‘over here’. Use the sit hand signal for dogs that understand it. If you do need to say ’sit’, say it quietly and calmly, only once or twice. Avoid saying the pet’s name, because the more times they hear it during a photo shoot, the more inclined they are to tune out.

Move slowly
If you need to move, and you don’t want your model to move, do so very slowly without making any eye contact. When you shift position they sense you are off on a new adventure and want to follow you.

Get Some Help
It’s much easier to get a great shot of your pet when you have some help. A friend can work with the dog or cat while you work to get the perfect picture.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Learning how to take great pet photos is a matter of practice. SCRAPS has several volunteer opportunities for photographers. Check out the volunteer section of their website or give them a call at 477-2769.



Article courtesy of SCRAPS

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