Stop Moving! Tips for Photographing Your Pet

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November 4, 2010
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How many pics do you have of your pet that are blurry or looked great in the viewfinder and then when you hit the shutter, they moved their head or walked away? In the end, how many pics do you have of your dog or cat sleeping?

If you are trying to get a good shot of your pet, try the following tips:

1: Personality – think about your pet and think about trying to capture a photo of your pet exemplifying one of its more noticeable characteristics. If you pet is a laid back, sleepy head, then a pic of her lounging in the sun would be appropriate. If your pet is a hyper, athletic one then maybe a pic playing or running in the park would best capture her personality.

2: Capture the action – Pets are tough to photograph because they are always active. Set your shutter speed to capture movement, some cameras have a “sports” mode while other will let you manually set the speed. Once the shutter is set you’re one step closer to avoiding burry pics.

3: Make it playful – If your pet is a playful critter, try using toys to get them to pay attention to you or to just get them to release some pent up energy. You may capture that one second before your cat pounces on the stuffed mouse or your dog carrying her kong. You can try holding treats above your head to get your pet to look at the camera. Make the experience fun for you and your pet so they get used to being photographed.

4: Be patient – Pets don’t understand that we think they are models and will walk away, jump up on you, move, and might be frightened of the camera. Give your pet time to get used to the camera. Young pets will often walk right up to the camera and sniff it or lick it to figure out what it is.

5: Lighting – It’s always best to go with natural lighting but if your pet is dark, you will need a strong light source. Flashes often overexpose your pet and can give them red eye. Try using natural sunlight if you can or play with your white balance on your camera.

6: Get down on the pet’s level – You can get angles and detail that you’re not going to get otherwise but be prepared for your pet to think it is snuggle time and run up to you. Like I said before, be patient. You can also try catching your pet unawares and sit on the floor, lie on the floor, and not call her. Let her do her thing and try to catch the natural daily grind of your pet sniffing grass, playing with a paper bag, or licking its paws.

7: Take multiple shots – You’re not going to get the perfect picture the first time. Some cameras have a mode where they take continuous photos and if your pet is running this can be a great way to try and get that action shot. Whatever program you use to edit your photos, most allow for some lighting and color correction. So you always have a second chance to weed out and “fix” the flaws.

8: If you are trying to use your smartphone, be prepared for lots of trial and error – smartphones and cell phone cameras are limited but can take good pictures, just be aware there will probably be lots of bad ones in the mix. You will need to edit the photos and may need to rethink the type of picture you’re trying to take. It’s unlikely you’ll get a great shot of your dog catching a frisbee with your phone, but you may get a nice pic of her chewing on an antler after a day of play.

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One Response to “Stop Moving! Tips for Photographing Your Pet”

  1. great article. but how about some help for those of us that just use a basic 5 dollar disposable camera. i have upgraded to a flash.

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