Whether you are trying to get the perfect picture to make your cat insta-famous, looking for the right shot to add to your holiday card, or just want something to show off to your friends and family as you brag about how precious your pup is, capturing quality photos of our favorite four-legged friends can be a challenge. Follow the six simple steps below to make the process more manageable and help you get the perfect pictures of your pet that capture their beauty and personality to the fullest!
- Practice Patience and Create Calm. Unless your dog or cat is a professionally trained model, they’re not likely to understand what you are doing or what you want them to do, creating frustration for both of you. Our animals are keen observers and reflectors of the energy around them, any distress or frustration will be evident in their face and body and could spoil your photos. The best photos of your pet will be when they are relaxed and having fun. Don’t stress when your pup isn’t hitting the pose you want or your kitty won’t look in your direction at the *right* moment, take a deep breath or take a break. By keeping things loose and relaxed you’ll both have fun and get some good shots too.
- Always Bring Treats. Don’t forget to pay your model! Whether it’s food treats, your dog’s favorite squeaky ball, or your cat’s most cherished feather toy, it’s important to offer your pet something they really like to keep them motivated and encourage their cooperation. You can also use these treats to grab their attention or get them to look in your direction. Place the toy or treat in front of their nose and bring it back slowly to just above the camera lens or telephone and snap away for some great shots of your pet focused on something that really excites them.
- Get Down on Their Level. It may involve some squatting or rolling around on the floor or in the grass, but the most engaging and intimate shots of pets are often those taken at their eye level. Choosing to shoot at their level, rather than from above, will enable the clearest view of their features and the best depth perception, depicting them naturally and allowing their personality to shine through.
- Take Advantage of Natural Light. Natural even light is the key to capturing your pet’s best features. Flash and direct sun can reflect off your pet’s fur and wash them out, create harsh shadows, or worse, the dreaded red-eye. Some pets may also become frightened by the bright and abrupt light of a flash. For best results, shoot outside on an overcast day, in a shady spot out of direct sunlight, or inside near a window in a well-lit room. Bonus tip: Make sure to take some shots with your subject facing toward the sun or window so their eyes are visible and bright.
- The Eyes Have It — Focus on Them. They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, and this is especially true for our pets. Photos that focus on the eyes are engaging, you’ll bring the viewer into the photo and help display your dog or cat’s personality.
- Keep it Clean. Clutter can distract and detract from even the cutest subject. So, before you start snapping shots of your precious pup or cute kitty, do a quick scan of the environment and remove any unnecessary or distracting objects cluttering the space. Your pet should be the center of attention.