Pets are often energetic, loving, and abounding with personality; yet trying to capture those characteristics in a photograph can be difficult, especially when the pet is always moving or stares into each photograph with demonic, red eyes from a bright flash.
Don’t give up hope, it is possible to show their photogenic side. Here’s how to do it:
Schedule the right time for your dog
There are certain times during the day that will be better (or worse) to photograph a pet, depending on their energy level and what type of photograph you want to take. For action shots, determine when your dog is most playful. However, if you want a portrait, find a time when they are naturally calmer, yet still alert.
Use natural light
Along with determining a time based on your dog’s energy level, take into account timing for the best natural light. Natural light is preferred over flashes because flashes can cause red-eye and frighten the animal. The best natural light will be found in the morning, during the evening or inside near a large window – especially windows that face north.
Slow down, take your time
Take many shots to choose from and take your time. It will be more fun for you and your pet. Also, slow down and pay attention to the background. Its always a shame to find out later that there is a random stranger in the background or anything else distracting from the subject.
Get closer and try different angles
It may feel awkward at first, but crouch down to your dog’s level and photograph from his view. Get closer with a zoom lens. And while you are down there, shoot from different angles, taking as many shots as you can. There are no wrong angles – try everything you can think of and then decide later in the post-processing stage which was your favorite.
Capture the eyes
They say the eyes are the window to the soul. If it is hard to get your pet to look while you photograph, have a friend stand behind you to call their name or do something else that will hold their attention.
A trick to get your dog to grin is to play with them for five minutes before taking the picture. Play a game of catch or tug of war. Have them chase you around the room or house. Once they settle back down, they will be giving you a dog smile.
Use a post-processing program
After the photo shoot, take a minute to review the images in a post-processing program. One I like to use on my phone is VSCO. It allows for adjusting exposure, color saturation, sharpening and also has preset filters to choose from. Or use Adobe Photoshop on a computer. Read more here about using post-processing software to make your pet photos shine .
Article written by Melissa Wheeler, a photographer, writer and pet enthusiast who has a 10-year-old Whippet, named Leo, who loves to run, sneak food and cuddle with his family.