If you have pets, then the chances are they are a major part of the family, providing love, cuddles, and laughter. Just as you do with your human children, you probably also snap a lot of pet pictures.
Over the years, as a family, we have had a menagerie of pets; from the usual dog and rabbit, to the more unusual stick insects and giant african land snails. Each pet playing an important part in our family.
As family members, you’ll want to capture them in your photographs. But, if you have ever tried to take pet pictures, you’ll know full well that it is not always as easy as it sounds.
Tips for Taking Pet Pictures
As the saying goes…
“Never work with animals or children”
Well, here are a few tips that we hope will help you to capture your all important pet pictures of your beloved fur baby.
Catch them unaware
Taking pet pictures whilst they are sleeping avoids the obvious problems of trying to keep them still, or trying to grab their attention. Sleeping animals are very relaxed and can look very cute. Get down to their level to capture their facial features, such as head resting on paws and closed eyes.
Concentrating on one area of your pet’s body, capturing beautiful detail, can create an effective photograph. You might look at how an animal sleeps, often with their head to one side, or paws stretched out, or even curled up.
Get up close so your pet fills the whole camera frame. If your pet is not used to seeing the camera, using a lens that can zoom can help.
Photo credit: Caroline Voaden
The more photographs you take the more likely you are to get that one amazing shot.
Setting your camera to burst or continuous mode will help capture every moment of an action shot.
Another pair of hands may be helpful for throwing a ball, or squeaking a toy to encourage a dog to run or jump towards you.
Think about the shot you want to obtain before trying to set it up too. Look at what is in the background. If it’s too dark your pet could disappear into the background. If you can, pay attention to where you are standing, so you can to get the best possible view of the action. The last thing you want are the branches of a tree coming out of the top of your pet’s head.
Action shots are fun, and can capture your pet’s playful personality well.
Not all pets like to sit or stand still for a period of time to allow you to photograph them. Bribes such as treats or cuddles often help to keep them still, enabling you to capture that special moment. Reward and praise after a shot is essential; your pet has just posed beautifully for you and deserves something special. Beware though, once your pet knows there are treats readily available, they may be more interested in locating them than sitting still!
Part of the family
Pets are a major part of any family, as important as the humans themselves.
Involving the family in a photo with your pet can result in a really adorable photo. Not all pets are cute and fluffy though. The photos below show giant african land snails, taken from their tank and staged ready for a snail race. The encouragement the child is giving the snails to move with a piece of cucumber is captured beautifully by using a zoom lens. This has enabled the photographer to capture the whole scene and not just the pets, showing the love a boy has for his pet snails.
I hope this has inspired you to take photographs of your pets, trying something new or just having fun in the garden with them.
As with all photography, the key is patience.
Thanks so much to Louise for another great article. If you have any wonderful pet shots, perhaps you might consider one of our canvases to keep that moment forever 😀