Our pets are a big part of our families, no matter how big or small they are. In this post I will give you a few simple tips to how to take better photos of your pets.
All photography can be improved by following a few simple composition guidelines, when you have read this post you might like to also read Take Better Pictures a Guide to Composition
In the UK there are about 8.5 million dogs and about a quarter of all homes have a pet dog. When taking picture of animals it’s easy to look down at them when taking their pictures. To take better pictures of your dog get down to their level and take an eye-level portrait. If your dog isn’t keen to sit still have them walk towards you and take an action shot, face-on. You may need to enlist the help of a family member to stand just behind the camera to call your pet with a treat. If your camera has a boost mode, use it to take lots of pictures in quick succession. This will give you lots of pictures from which to choose the best which shows off your pet’s personality. If your dog is playful you could take action photos of him with a family member in shot.
While cats are in the same size range as many dogs their temperament is different to dogs and they may be less amenable to posing for a photo. Like photographing dogs, try to get down on your cats level. You may have to use stealth to catch your cat sitting minding its own business or looking out of a window. For young and playful cats you could try using a drag toy that your cat can pounce on creating an action shot.
To photograph big animals like horses and donkeys you can stand up to get eye-to-eye portraits. Try to catch them side-on and all them to turn their head towards you to create a face-on portrait. If you can select a wide aperture on your camera/phone you can throw the background out of focus to emphasise your animal. A small burst of flash can also help by adding a bright spot to their eyes.
Gerbils and other small pets like hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits can be tricky to photograph as they have a tendency to move about quickly and run away. You have a couple of options for photographing small pets. The first option is to hold onto them, the second requires a bit of preparation and a few props.
If you decide to hold your small pet bring it up to the level of the camera so you can get an eye-level picture and show off their face. Make sure your pet is comfortable and don’t grip them too tightly, especially important if enlisting children to help you.
If you want to try to take studio style photos of your pets you could build a mini home photo studio using a cardboard box. You can read instructions for this in my previous post How to Build a Mini Home Photo Studio
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