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Tips for Getting the Best Photography Shots of Your Pet

There are many reasons why you might want to capture great photos of your pets: to hang on the wall, put on holiday cards, because you’ve been asked to do so by friends and family, or maybe even to sell as stock photography.  Animals are unpredictable and can be difficult to work with, but it can be done. It should be obvious that you will increase your chances of getting a fantastic photo of your pet by planning for plenty of time to work and to be very, very patient.

The first thing to plan for is the kind of shot you want. If you want a formal, studio-like setting then you should create the space for your upcoming shoot. Will you be using any props? Make sure any items to be used are clean and free from lint and scratches. You may prefer props having a “patina”, but you’ll want to save yourself post-processing time removing unwanted hair and any other imperfections.

If you’re just going to the park and have the dog catch a Frisbee, then plan to go to the venue when the conditions are right. You may want the sun to be at a certain angle or to be in an area when there aren’t any people around. Anytime is fine if you just want a snapshot but if you’re looking for a keeper, make sure your setting will have optimal conditions. Consider heading to the park in time to get shots during the two daily opportunities to catch the golden hour just after sunrise or just before sunset.

When you’re ready for your shoot, give your pet a bath and a good brushing. Or whatever is appropriate. A well-groomed pet will make a huge difference.

When it comes to the technical basics, taking great photos of animals is a lot like taking great photos of people. You will want the eyes to be in focus. Shoot at the same level of the pet. Either crouch down or lift the pet up onto a platform.

Dogs and cats will work for treats but their attention span can be very short. If the animal is very energetic then the attention span can be almost nonexistent. This is where patience comes in. If the animal moves away, then let your pet get whatever notion out of their head that propelled them explore and lead them back to the shooting position. It may be helpful to have someone assist you so they can work the camera or handle the treats. The person behind the camera can also get the attention of the animal and help with the direction the pet will face and be looking.

Fundamentally, that’s all there is to it. If you browse the internet, you can find many examples of top-notch pet photographs and many of them utilize props and costumes. A kitten sleeping in an old shoe, a puppy peeking from a basket. Dogs with a funny costume. If you want a standard photograph, then all you really need to do is work on the lighting. On the other hand, browsing the internet will also help you with ideas of what you want you want your pet to do for your shoot.

It may be common sense that a great deal of patience may be required to photograph a pet, but they key to a successful shoot is in the preparation. Have your props and ideas ready to go. Groom the pet as needed. Plan for the best time for using a public space. And do your homework, search the internet to see what ideas you can find for ideas, including costumes and poses. Photographing a pet is not that hard if you prepare in advance. The only catch is how willing the animal is to cooperate, but as we’ve noted, patience, treats, and a partner to give a helping hand will greatly increase your ability to get the winning shot.

It’s your pet too, right? This will be a great opportunity to have fun with your animal!


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