Taking a picture of your pet may seem like an easy thing to do, but there is a lot more to just hitting the trigger on the camera when you want a professional looking photo. It is only natural that you want a few great pictures of your kitty or your puppy; they have been there for a while and they have share a lot of special moments with you.
Learning to take good photos will allow you to develop an even stronger bond than what you now share and will get you to start noticing a few small things that in the past you missed about your best friend. This will be a fun adventure for the two of you.
Set Your Goal
The first thing that you need to focus on is the type of photos that you want to take of your furry friend. Having a goal in mind will make it more satisfying when you get a final result. Think of the picture that you want to take and keep it in your mind. Do you want to catch a moment during playtime, eating, sleeping, or do you want a portrait for the family album? If so, do you want your family in the portrait with them?
Having a goal in your mind will tell you when you should reach for the camera and what the set up you need if any. Having a goal means that you will be ready to take the photo at the right moment and that you will not forget the things that you need to get the picture.
Setting Up The Moment
Now you have the goal in mind and you can start thinking of the right setting. You should asses how good your camera is and whether it will do the job better indoors or outdoors. Are you staying at home or going to a ride to the pond or the beach? One of the very important things about a particular setting is the reaction you expect from your pet. It is a good idea to visit the place you are taking the pictures in with your dog and see how he/she reacts to the different stimulations of it. If you are going to a pond, will he chase the ducks or play in the water?
There will be distractions if you plan to take the pictures outside so your pet may or may not respond the way you want it to. If you know your dog or cat well enough it is more likely that you will be able to better guess what a reaction to outdoor stimulation will be. If you feel that the reaction will be what you want then it is time to start to prepare that stage.
Prepare The Stage
Preparation of the stage or setting is very important because this is when you have to really think of the things that could go wrong. You need to expect those things so that if they happen (and they usually do) you will be ready to control the situation. Do not try to over-do the preparation though; remember that the goal is to give your pet and yourself a fun positive experience. The preparation includes getting your furry friend ready as well so make sure to give them a lot of exercise so that if they are usually hyper they should come down to alert and under control.
If you are outdoors then think of the natural light that you will use for the portrait. You can always use a flash, but natural light comes out great when shooting pet pictures. Also think of any grooming that your pet may need. You may have to groom them days in advance when they become stressed after it. Bring toys and treats not only for the pictures but to help your buddy feel at ease.
Effects And Other Tips
You should always be ready for sudden movements so look at your camera’s shutter speed. You should also try to reduce shadows as much as possible and you can do that by keeping your pooch or kitty away from a background (at least 6 feet). Have all your equipment ready and get an assistant to help you with the clutter in the frame and to keep your pet under control at all times. Preparing all of those things ahead of time will make the actual photo taking a lot easier when the time comes.
Before you get to the scene make sure that you are well-organized. You could miss a great moment if you are looking for film or memory cards. Make sure that you charge any batteries you will be using and that you have a back up. Keep your case organized with primary and back up materials where you will find them without having to search for them. Your dog or cat is not aware of what you are doing so don't expect them to pay attention. If you stay organized you can start taking your pictures the moment you get to the scene.
Animals can tell what kind of mood you are in and in many cases they imitate what they see. If you are playful then they will be playful, and if you stay relaxed it will be easier for them to feel the same way. You also need to become a bit of a pet mind reader, so that you can guess what they are thinking and expect any movement. The first time you will have some good pictures, but perfection takes a lot of practice, so relax and truly enjoy the moment.
Get Down To Their Level
The photos that you want to take need to be personal so it is time to get on your hands and knees so that you can take the photo at eye level. If you take a photo standing up you will not get the happy face you are looking for. Do not be afraid to get dirty because the best photography requires work and the correct use of angles. Even if people are looking do not think of that. It feels a bit foolish while you are snapping pictures, but the result is worth it.