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how to take photos of petsIf you haven’t yet experienced the joy of owning a pet then you’re missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures. While owning a pet isn’t a wholly positive experience – especially when they pass away after far too short a time on this Earth – the positives far outweigh the negatives. Especially if you choose the right animal to suit your personality.

Pets provide a great subject for photographers, both professional and amateur alike. They’re unpredictable, busy, and inquisitive. Just like children, in fact. Having already shown you how to take amazing photos of kids Top Tips: How To Take Amazing Digital Photos Of Your Kids Top Tips: How To Take Amazing Digital Photos Of Your Kids While owning the right equipment, and knowing how to use that equipment successfully, can help anyone take good quality photographs, more important is the knowledge of how to take a good shot. Some people are... Read More , it’s now time to turn our attention to our furry and/or feathered friends.

You may have already noticed I’ve used cats throughout this article. This is simply because I love cats 10 Of The Best Funny Cat Tumblrs To Fulfil Your Feline Fetish 10 Of The Best Funny Cat Tumblrs To Fulfil Your Feline Fetish It's time for me to come out as a cat lover. I cannot hold it in any longer, I love the little furballs, especially my own little furball of joy that cuddles up to me... Read More and think they’re the most naturally photogenic animals out there. But these tips are good for all pets, no matter what their species. Hell, even smelly dogs Best Online Resources For New and Experienced Dog Owners Best Online Resources For New and Experienced Dog Owners Read More are welcome to the party.

Up Close & Personal

how to take photos of pets

Keep your camera (or smartphone Top Tips: How To Take Great Photos With Your Smartphone Top Tips: How To Take Great Photos With Your Smartphone Smartphone and mobile photography are becoming increasingly popular. And no wonder. Every year, mobile and smartphone cameras get better and better, until many people don’t feel the need to carry real cameras around anymore. While... Read More ) close to hand at all times. Pets are notoriously unpredictable, and you never know when they’ll do something or act in a way that deserves recording for posterity.

Be aware that you’re much more likely to get great results from photographing your own pet rather than someone else’s pet. They know you, they trust you, they may even like you, if we can ascribe such sentiments to animals.

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Spend time with your pet. Know how to read their feelings. There will be times when your pet is happy to be photographed, and others when they’re more keen on being left alone. Take heed of these moods.

Natural Is Nice

take pet photos

I’m not a fan of posed photographs. You can tell when someone is trying just that little too hard to look good when the shutter button is pressed. If it looks bad when humans do it, it will also look bad when animals do it.

Taking photos of your pets in their natural environment is a far better idea than dressing them up or making them stand in a certain place. Follow them see where they hunt, or sleep, or do whatever it is animals do when we’re not looking.

This rule also applies to personalities. Try to capture the essence of your pet. If it’s a grumpy cat (no, not that one 5 Awesome Meme Generators On The Web 5 Awesome Meme Generators On The Web Anyone who spends any serious amount of time on the Web will be aware of Internet memes. At least those who venture into the useless-yet-entertaining side streets the Web has to offer. Those who are... Read More ) then capture that. If it’s an energetic dog, then capture that. This is, after all, how you’ll remember them when they’re gone.

On Their Level

take pet photos

The relationships we share with our pets is often an unequal one. We’re in charge, we’re their masters, we take care of their essential needs. We also look down on them for the most part. Literally.

Most domestic pets are much smaller than us, so we tower over them. Try switching this perspective up when it comes to taking photographs of your pets; get down to their level and make your pet feel like it’s the star of the show for a change.

Not only will this gift you interesting angles, your pet is likely to respond by either becoming docile and infinitely photographable, or playful and infinitely photographable. You win either way.

Light=Good, Flash=Bad

take pet photos

Getting the lighting right is important when taking photographs of pets. The more natural the better, so shoot during the day with curtains and blinds thrown fully open. If shooting at night then use artifical lighting to create moods ( as demonstrated in the photo above.

Then there is flash, which should be used very sparingly, if at all. Using flash will do two things: scare or temporarily blind your pet; make its eyes glow like it’s some sort of demonic presence. Neither of which is particularly useful.

Treats & Tricks

how to take photos of pets

If you need your pet to behave (rather than act naturally) there are various ways of making it happen. Using rewards for good behavior is an obvious example, with their chosen treat often having the power to get even the most rambunctious of animals to suddenly fall under your spell.

You can also use a second person off camera to draw your pet’s attention in order to obtain a particular shot. Or you can throw a favorite toy in order to capture your pet in full flight. Or wake them from their slumber suddenly in order to ensure an alert animal.

Patience Is A Virtue

how to take photos of pets

Even if you follow all of the advice above you’ll still have to be very patient if you want to take photos of your pets that sail past being just ordinary to being exceptional. Like a perfect storm, various elements have to come together to make it happen.

Shoot liberally, because somewhere in amongst a pile of nonsense photographs is likely to be one that captures your pet exactly how you wanted. But remember not to delete digital photos Why You Should Never Delete Dodgy Digital Photos [Opinion] Why You Should Never Delete Dodgy Digital Photos [Opinion] The digital age we're now living in has changed our ideas of ownership and copyright. For better or worse. It's also changed the way we do various things. In the field of photography moving to... Read More you initially assume have no merit, as you may regret it years later.

Conclusions

One last thing you should remember when photographing pets, or any other live subjects for that matter, is to enjoy yourself. While getting good results is important, it surely means nothing if you’re not having fun while seeking out that perfect photo ripe for sharing on social networks Distributing Your Blog Content: The Best Auto-Posting Services Distributing Your Blog Content: The Best Auto-Posting Services Are you a blogger? What about a blogger of multiple blogs? If you have several blogs to share and all of the popular social networks (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to share them on, you... Read More .

Have you got any of your own tips for photographing The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners Fueled by a desire to take better photos, last year I got myself a nice DSLR for Christmas. I'm certainly no photography expert - but I did take the time learn a few tips I... Read More pets? What has your experience been at capturing them on film to this point? As always we’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment in the space provided below. All are read, many receive replies.

Image Credits: Schumi, Barb Crawford, Mel, Darren Kirby, Jonathan Goforth, Robert Couse-Baker, Jenny Downing

  1. hotdoge3
    April 30, 2013 at 7:26 am

    don't do this take photos with a flash at night my cat see camera and runs now but big eye did look good

  2. Serra Stone
    April 25, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I have made thisinto an art at my cats website: http://kitteh.in

    He is always doing the cutest things and I have over 1k pics of him there. :P That's one spoiled cat, having his own domain and website!

    • Dave Parrack
      April 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Wow, that site is clearly a labor of love. If you enjoy it then keep it up :)

  3. Keith S
    April 25, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Meow, meow! Hello kitty!

    • Dave Parrack
      April 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      That may work.

  4. macwitty
    April 24, 2013 at 11:25 am

    A treat is not only good when taking photos of cats ;)

    • Dave Parrack
      April 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Kids? Adults? Everybody who likes treats?! ;)

  5. Scott M
    April 24, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I have taken a great many cat photos and these are good suggestions to get started with.Once you become comfortable and develop your own style,new methods of shooting and small tricks emerge and your shots will begin to take on a more polished tone.A nice article.

    • Dave Parrack
      April 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      This is definitely only a starter set of tips. Each pet is, after all, different, and so needs different approaches.

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