Monday, August 3, 2009

Pet Photography

Pets are very similar to kids. They have lots of joy and emotion but can get distracted at a moment's notice. Snapping a great picture of your pet is no small feat.

After taking many pictures of my dogs, talking to my friend Boaz, who is a photographer and doing research, I came up with these pet photography tips.

  1. Try to avoid using a flash. When I try to snap a picture of Cookie indoors, she'll look at me once, and then she knows I want to take pictures, but after the first I get the cold shoulder . Flash also gives your pet the "greeneye " effect. So what are other options you have?
  2. Take pictures outdoors. You can get some really stunning pictures on a sunny day when your pet is tune with nature. They are in their element and are more relaxed. There's nothing like seeing a Golden Retriever laying on the grass, a Bichon Frise frolicking in the sand or a Siberian Husky playing in the snow.
  3. Use indirect light. You'll need sufficient light in the background to light the photo. An example would be by a window or if you have a skylight in your house, that may be a good source too. Also, If you take the lampshade off of a lamp and find a way to flood the light into the background, that may be a good way too. If you're outdoors, make sure the animal isn't directly in the sunlight.
  4. Keep the background simple. Put a white sheet against the wall with pushpins to keep the focus on your animal. If you're outside, take a picture where there aren't many objects to distract the focus from your photography subject.
  5. Have a favorite toy or bone handy. This was a tip from Boaz. It's a great way to grab your pets attention and snap them quickly.
  6. Have your camera set as fast as possible. Make sure your camera isn't left on the time delay mode. Animals move so fast that you have to keep snapping several shots to get that one ideal shot.
  7. If you're one of the camera dinosaurs that use film, get a high speed film such as 400 ISO or 800 ISO. Those are good ranges to snap pictures for animals. I must confess that as much I enjoy using my camera, I haven't been able to part with my film cameras as well. They offer you that element of surprise and a savvy photographer will be able to tell when that memorable moment was taken. Nine out of ten times, it has worked for me in the past.
  8. Take your dog for a walk before taking its picture. Animals have excess energy and they will be calmer after a walk. It will help them focus, especially the high energy ones.
  9. Catch them sleeping on the job. Animals have a look of contentment when they are asleep. If they are sleeping well, they won't care what you're doing and you'll be able to get a few good pictures in.
  10. Snap a picture at their level. If you take a picture at the level of the animal, it brings them to life. It tends to capture their true essence. Get a low angle shot if you want to give the photo a majestic air.
  11. Get Close up! The closer you get with your lens, the more the animal will be the focal point of the photo. You don't want to get too close because there is a chance the photo will lose sharpness and/or part of the animal will be cut out of the picture. Many portraits are done with a great closeup. Some even just get a shot of the animal's face and neck.
  12. Get an action shot. Nothing is cooler than snapping a picture of your dog playing fetch or even gnawing on his bone. If you have a dog that's not the type to sit around, this may be a better way to go.
  13. Enter a pet photo contest. This may be something for those of you are more advanced. Why do I say this? Well, if you enter a contest, usually the ones online will have a comment section. If you have a picture you want to share, entering a contest is a good way to find out if your picture is run of the mill or something extraordinary.
  14. Share your photo on social media sites. I love Twitpic for showing photos. It's a great application for sharing photos and getting feedback.
  15. Get your friend to snap a picture of you and your pet. If you are interacting with your pet in a low-key way where it's as if the camera doesn't exist, sometimes those pictures look better for which the animal is posing. You'll also have a unique photo of you and your pet.
  16. Have patience!!! This is one of the most important things you need to take a worthy picture. If you don't rush yourself and just enjoy the time, waiting it out may be the best thing if all else fails.

Here are some websites that may be a good source for additional information:

Digital Photography School
Dog Arteest
You may want to check out Boaz's site as well since he does lots of photography. His site is about music and photography called Cougar Microbes

I hope that you all will find these tips helpful. If any of you have some of your own, feel free to jump in below in the comments area. Hope you all have a great day and thanks for stopping in.

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