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​Five tips for photographing pets

Jeff Amlotte - Monday, July 20, 2015

1. Eye level



A lot of pet owners kneel down to talk to their pets (unless you have a horse, or course), it helps establish a bond between them. This applies to photographing pets as well. So get down to their eye level, in fact, lay on the ground if you can. The photos you take at this level help convey a feeling of closeness to the person viewing the photograph. For the horse photographer, get a step ladder to raise your perspective. To give your pet a bit of an authoritative look, take your photo from below eye level with a slight upwards angle.

2. Available light

Turn off your flash. Whenever possible, shoot in natural or available light, whether it be outside light or lights in your house. Using a flash causes a few problems: 1) red eye, 2) scares the animal and 3) it just isn’t flattering.

3. Get close

This has two meanings. Get close physically and get close from far away.

Getting close physically:
Spontaneous portraits of your pets can be great, but sometimes we forget about the little things that make them cute. Move your camera up close, fill the frame with their paw(s), their nose, their odd-shaped ear or their stubby little tail. Combining these different kinds of shots with the standard portrait can make for a nice slide show or photo collage.

Getting close from far away:
Break out the long zoom lens and step away from your pet. Now zoom all the way in with your lens and compose your shot. This effect creates a stronger emphasis on your pet while blurring the background.

4. Be creative

Distorting the visual truth can be fun. With an extreme wide angle or fish eye lens, get very close to your pet’s face and snap the shutter. The exaggerated over-sized head on tiny little legs can create an unusual and comical look. But be careful, when it comes to this effect, there is such thing as too much of a good thing.

5. Be patient

Patience is a virtue. One that is hard to maintain when photographing pets. While you may think you’ve either got all the shots you need or you just missed the “perfect” shot, wait a little longer before calling it a day. Pets know there’s something going on when you’re moving around clicking some strange gadget at them. But if you’re still they tend to relax a bit. Let them settle down. They may even be distracted by a toy or something which can create an opportunity for a whole new series of great photos.

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