8 Top Pet Photography Tips
Pet photography is an area of photography that is rapidly growing in popularity, but has proven to be a tough challenge to almost every newbie to the field of photography. However, if you are willing to put in a decent amount of time and energy into getting better at pet photography, it tends to yield gratifying results for you and your pet photography clients.
Many families own some sort of pet or another, and each pet has its own distinct personality and quirks that will require different pet photography techniques. Unlike humans who can be told to pose in one way or another, pets won’t be able to listen to anything beyond extremely simple instructions at best. So, how do you get great pet photography portraits?
Pets are tricky subjects for any photographer to deal with – a pet photographer requires a large amount of patience and must be capable of reacting quickly when the pet does something picture-worthy.
So, let’s talk about our 8 tips for getting great pet photography pictures.
- Take the context and setting into Account
Before even taking pictures of a pet, make sure to take some time to set up the environment and get the pet comfortable and relaxed for your shots. It’s a good idea to arrive slightly early to a pet photo shoot and get yourself acquainted with the pet owners and the pet itself. This stops the pet from being too excited by the presence of a new person (you) and allows you to better communicate with the owners on what their goal is for their pet pictures.
For the photo shoot location, you should pick a suitable background with pleasant colors and a mild atmosphere to get the best shots possible. Try your best to eliminate possible distractions, such as strong smells, other animals, and any of such that could distract the pet from focusing on the pet photo shoot.
- Capture the pet’s unique personality traits.
Just like most other things in life, the pet you’re taking photos of has it’s own unique personality and quirks. The worst possible thing you can do is treat each pet as cookie cutter similar, which means just taking pictures of them without regard for their temperament or personality at all. Some noteworthy parts of a pet might be things like the color and length of its fur, different colored eyes, or a big, goofy grin.
During the photoshoot, be sure to avoid doing anything that could unnecessarily agitate the pet, such as sudden hand movements towards them, loud shouting or arguments with the client in front of them. Once a pet is agitated, it is much harder to achieve good shots of them, as they will now be tense and uneasy, which is definitely not the sort of atmosphere the client wishes to capture.
- Use the right exposure height.
Make sure that your camera level is about the same level as that of the pet’s full height. If you don’t do this, you are bound to get too many “down” shots; this is because humans are taller than most pets. This causes the pet to seem distant and out of focus, and captures too much of the surrounding background. Hence, lowering yourself to the level of the pet allows you to capture the pet in greater detail, and also allows for a clearer picture altogether.
- Move in even closer for close up shots.
The most common household pets are dogs and cats, most of which are much smaller than human beings. Take care to avoid ugly exposures where the pet ended up being at a tiny corner of the picture by experimenting with close up shots. Close-up shot allows you to capture some great shot of even minute details, while focusing on the unique features of your pet, like its eyes, ear, fur, and paws. Capturing close-up shots is made more accessible when you use zoom lenses, so if you do not have a zoom lens, think about getting one.
- Play Around with light effects:
Experimenting with light effects is important because good lighting goes a long way to make your pet photograph excellent, whereas poor lighting can ruin an otherwise lovely picture. Hence, I’d advise pet photographers to make use of natural lighting as much as possible. It is usually best to avoid flash photography since it tends to scare many pets and cause a red-eye effect in photos.
- Capture action and playtime photos of the pet.
Get a tripod for action and playtime photos of the client’s pet. Action and playtime pet photography sessions are one of the best pet photography secrets that will allow you to help your client get real and naturally appealing pictures of their pet. Include vital elements, such as dog bones or cat toys to boost the natural feel of your pet photograph. Make your pet photography sessions a fun-filled moment, and their pet will be in a cheerful mood for some great and beautiful shots.
- Get the humans involved.
Don’t forget that pets and humans go together hand in hand. While isolated shots of the pet with a background can certainly be beautiful, you can add real excitement and interest by getting people involved. Children and pets are an excellent combination. Small children with big animals or big men with small toy dogs or kittens will make anyone smile.
- Avoid being rigid and experiment with both posed and casual shots.
While posed shots are quite beautiful to capture, do try to experiment with capturing pictures of the pet in its “unaware” moments. Capture them when they least expect it, like moments where they are asleep or distracted playing/ If you try too hard and focus too much on getting the perfect shot, you won’t have fun. One of the most vital pet photography secrets is to have fun!
Finally, it is a known fact that pet photography is a very profitable business when carried out correctly. Images of pets are used all over the world in magazines and other photography publications. After taking a photograph of a pet, ask the owner if they will sign a release form that allows you to sell the pet image. Make sure that you carry these release forms at all times. While this may not be needed – it may save you hassle in the future when selling the pet photograph.
This article is brought to you by li.sg, the website of Arik Chan, an expert photographer who has been photographing for over four decades. To see more of our pet photography Singapore pictures, click here. To go to our homepage, click here.