Pet Photography Tips & Tricks To Get Stunning Pictures
Taking pictures of our pets may seem like an easy task to do but anyone who’s tried to get a stunning picture will tell you otherwise. No matter how many times we try to tell our babies to stay still and look at the camera, they’ll just continue doing their thing like they didn’t hear us.
There are a lot of factors to consider when doing pet photography. Some animals are anxious while others are overly excited. You also need to consider the location, the motif, and even the schedule of the shoot.
Regardless of those factors, it’s still a fun thing to do. So if you’re determined to go through the process and get those stunning pictures and the cute moments, we have listed some of the top tips and tricks just for you!
Top Tricks and Tips to Get Stunning Pictures
1. Clear your shooting location from distractions
We all know how our pets can be rowdy and easily distracted when they see certain things. When they are in this state, it’s almost impossible to take a decent picture.
One important thing you need to do first is to clear them from distractions. This increases the chance of them only focusing on your camera and your commands.
Plus, having clutters in your shooting location isn’t aesthetically pleasing. It would just ruin the perfect shot and will make the background look dirty.
If an item is present in the background that doesn’t serve in enhancing the photo, it’s better to just remove it.
Alternatively, you can make use of an online background eraser to eliminate unwanted elements from the picture, giving it a cleaner look.
2. Decide a concept before a shoot day
One trick to be more confident in taking pictures is to decide the concept days before the photoshoot.
This will give you a lot of time to think of locations, what kind of pictures you’ll want to take, and whether you’d like your pet babies to wear some costumes or clothes.
Giving yourself an ample amount of days to decide on these things allows you to play with your creativity. You’ll have more time to think about the location, the concepts, and your fur babies.
3. Know more about your model
If you’re starting as a professional pet photographer, sometimes it’s an advantage to know the breed of the dogs that you’re going to work with. As any pet lover would know, each breed comes with different characteristics.
Some dogs might be lazy while others’ energy level is through the roof. By knowing what breed you’re going to take a set of photos of, you’ll know what to expect when you come on the set. So do your research!
4. Natural light is your friend
Lighting is a photographer’s ally when wanting to take great pictures. Knowing what light to use can easily set the mood of your photos.
In the case of taking pictures of our fur babies, natural light is the best – no lighting equipment is needed and it’s totally free. Natural light allows you to capture that big smile of your pet in high definition.
5. Treat your model
A pet’s attention span can only last for a few seconds or minutes. As a photographer, it’s also your job to keep them focused and interested for a longer time. And a trick to do so would be to give them treats.
Giving them treats is like paying them for their actions, you’re reinforcing the thought that they are doing good.
A pet who’s not engaged and rewarded might just wander around the shoot and become disinterested.
There are other ways to keep your pets engaged than just by giving them treats. Sometimes, instead of treats, you can give them a belly rub, or any actions that show some love and affection.
Showing love and giving treats makes your pets more cooperative and motivated. In the end, this will give you more stunning and cute shots. Also utalsing a squeaker toy behind the camera can help ensure your model is looking in the correct location.
6. Stretch it out first
Whether you’re a pet photographer for only a day or you do this for a living, stretching before the shoot helps.
Since sometimes you need to bend, crawl, twist, or lie down to get a great shot, stretching is a must.
It may seem like an odd tip but stretching is just as important as the other tips in this list.
7. Capture them in their natural state
Their natural state is how they act normally in your house. If your dog is naturally lazy and lays down all day, you can capture a picture of them sleeping or relaxing.
If your cat is the playful type, make sure to bring their favorite toys to capture them in action.
Only the owner really knows how to engage their pet. They know how to stimulate their brains to get the most natural reaction.
8. Use costumes or clothes
Costumes and clothes make the pets stand out. It’s an added factor in their cuteness. A photographer can also use these to play around with the pets’ natural behavior.
If a dog likes to stare afar at the window, the photographer can dress him up like a detective to make it seem like the dog is in a deep thinking state.
You can also play around with the clothes your pet is wearing depending on the weather. When it’s summer, the pet can wear bikinis or trunks. If it’s winter, bring out those cute scarves and bonnets.
Using clothes and costumes can really make the picture lively and the shooting day fun.
9. Carefully select the time of the day for the shoot
Pet owners know that there are certain times in the day when the energy of their pet is at an all-time high. Sometimes this happens in the morning and this can also happen late in the afternoon.
So if you want to capture them in their most excited state, your photoshoot should be carefully scheduled where they display such emotions.
If you want to see them in a more relaxed and calm state, you could do this later in the day where they’ve exhausted all their energy.
10. Focus on their eyes
The eyes can sometimes convey the emotion of the pet. That’s why we have an idiom called “puppy dog eyes” to describe a pleading or begging look. Some photographers even use the pets’ eyes as the focus for the photos.
They always make sure that eyes are sharp and relays an emotion to the photo. Even when the pet isn’t looking at the camera, they still make the eyes the focal point of the image. It’s a good angle for you to try.
11. Patience isn’t an option, it’s a must
When dealing with your pets, it’s important to have patience. Pet owners know how hard it is to train pets to follow commands and certain actions. This can be even more challenging when you’re trying to take pictures of them.
In this activity, patience isn’t an option, it’s a must. You’re dealing with a model that doesn’t 100% understand English no matter how many times you have English conversations with them. Pets are all about your body language, keeping calm with oodles of enthusiasm and patience is key to any successful photoshoot.
Plus, animals can sense the stress. Meaning if you are feeling stressed or frustrated it can affect their mood. This can have a huge impact on the quality of your photography.
When trying to make your pets stay still or do certain actions, it’s easy to get frustrated when they do the complete opposite. So it’s important to remain calm and patient. If you do feel like you are becoming frustrated take some time out and reset the shoot.
12. Make sure they’re comfortable
Humans can’t perform well when uncomfortable, we will squirm and fidget to find a better spot.
The same goes for our pets. Although it’s cute that we make them wear costumes and clothes, it’s important to see if they’re comfortable with it.
An uncomfortable animal would be noisy and all over the place. They’ll do everything to get out of those uncomfortable clothes or places.
So when considering your location and costumes, think about your pet’s feelings, expecting a pet who has never worn a costume to sit still for a photo will be impossible.
13. Enjoy and have fun
Relax and have fun with the process. Although commanding and begging your pet might need some work from your end, remember to enjoy the day.
When your pets see you’re having fun, they’ll also receive that energy and reflect it back to you.
Your mood will also affect your creativity. When you’re in a happy mood, you’ll be at your best behind the camera. You’ll also get to anticipate actions that are good for a great picture.
Common Mistakes That Happen In Pet Photography
Not everyone has the experience of a professional pet photographer. So it’s only right that we include the common mistakes in taking pictures of our pet babies.
I. Not utilizing the shutter mode of your camera
Most pets are ecstatic. There are just some that you can’t hold down to take a single photo. To help you deal with these kinds of models, use the shutter mode of your camera.
Shutter mode allows you to capture moving and fast targets. This mode will automatically adjust all necessary things in a picture to make it clear even though your object of attention is moving.
II. Incorrect exposure
Exposure in photography relates to the overall brightness or darkness of a photograph. When wanting to create stunning pictures of your pets, the exposure should just be balanced.
You can learn more about the technical side of photography by learning from professionals. There are lots of online events, webinars, and courses where professional pet and nature photographers share their knowledge.
III. Not going down on their level
To get stunning pictures, going down on your pets’ height level is a good idea. But this is commonly overlooked by a lot of owners who do pet photography casually.
There’s a reason why I mentioned stretching as one of the tips above. Sometimes you need to lay down to be on eye level with your pets.
This is also the reason why you see National Geographic’s wildlife photographers almost lying down on the ground. Taking a picture at eye level with animals gives a new perspective to some people.
Usage of Pet Photographs
Once you’re done with your shoot, don’t just let them stay in your camera’s memory card. Doing this makes you run the risk of the memory card being corrupted. Always create a backup folder for you wonderful shots. If you’re looking where to store your pictures, here are the best photo management softwares you can use.
After you’re done with the backup process, there are two common things that you can do with those photos.
Place it on your website
When running a website, you don’t just think about online security, easy navigation, and content. You also think about how your website looks and how you can display your expertise.
If you run a pet website, you can use these photos on blogs or be added to your portfolio. You can ask your web developers to place these images where it’s highlighted for people to see.
These pictures when engaged by a lot of people will go hand in hand with your content and will surely help your website’s SEO.
An example of this would be Pet Insurance Australia – not only is its website full of valuable content but it’s also plastered with great pet photos. That’s also why they’re on top of Google search when it comes to pet insurances in Australia.
Add it to your portfolio or sell it
These great photos you’ll take can be added to your portfolio of images. You can show your prospects what shots you take and how you can make their pet a great model.
Another option you can do is to make some dollars is by adding your images to a stock photography website.
Whether you’re doing pet photography to make money online or just doing it casually or professionally, anyone who has tried it can’t deny that it’s a fun and great experience.
Just remember that every pet has its different triggers. A lot of factors can make them jump, run around, get wild, and be happy. And it’s up to you, the photographer, to use everything you can to engage your fur model.
Whether you want to have a stunning picture or just to have a set of pictures with your pets, the most important thing is to have fun.
Christian Cabaluna is a finance blogger at awesomex™ with 5+ years of first-hand experience. When he is not writing at his favorite coffee shop, Christian spends most of his time reading (mainly about money-related topics), cooking, watching sitcoms, visiting beaches, and catching beautiful sunsets.