If you’ve got a pet, chances are you have countless pictures of them stored on your phone or computer. Like children, pets are constantly doing something that’s photo worthy—even when they’re being naughty. But, quantity doesn’t always equal quality. But unless you've really spent some time thinking creatively about all the different ways you might be able to photograph him, the chances are you don't have many images that have that real “wow” factor, or the ability to really impress someone who doesn’t already know your pet well. Often, it’s better to have a small collection of incredible pet photography that artfully captures the true essence of your furry friend. Going beyond a smartphone camera, you can elevate the subject matter with your keen eye. Paired with creative thinking, you can make the portraits of your pet become unforgettable.
These few tips will allow you to capture unforgettable images of your beloved cat or dog, while at the same time preserving priceless memories of you and your pet!
1. Costumes are a Rage!
Today, photos of costumed pets are all the rage. Try putting a cape on your puppy and see where that leads you. After an hour or so of photographing Super Dog you’ll have some unbeatably funny and adorable shots to add to your scrapbook. The thing about costumes is that they inspire you to try other ideas that fit the theme—see if you can get your Super Dog to chase that Frisbee again, only this time cut the Frisbee out of the scene altogether. Have him leap tall buildings (or dog houses) in a single bound. A single piece of costume will lead your creativity to the next level.
2. Treat your Pet like a Model
You can apply this technique to a lot of different situations—let’s say your dog is looking forward to his walk, and he’s sitting at the door patiently waiting for someone to open it. If you zoom in you might get a cute shot of his eager face, but zooming out is really going to provide some context. Framed against the door, your viewers will know exactly why your dog looks so eager, and that’s going to tell a better story. Try shooting at different angles to not miss the single expression. The whole idea is to capture the moment, the expression and the emotion of your pet treating him like the next Vogue model posing for a magazine.
3. Capture the Bond
We like to take photos of animals on their own doing adorable things, but we often neglect to take photos that do a good job of capturing the bond that we feel with our animals. If you have children and pets, make sure you're seizing every opportunity to capture photos of them together. You or your child hugging or snuggling with the pet is always great for a photo, but you can even set something up by encouraging child and dog to engage in a game of fetch or a learn-to-sit session. And remember to capture the quiet moments as well—a photograph of a child looking into the eyes of his cat can make for a very powerful photo about the love between humans and their animals.
4. Invite their friends to make them Cheerful!
Animals look hilarious and are a delight to watch when they are having fun together with their fellow mates. It’s your time to take advantage of this playtime. If your pet has a friend, you can invite it over for a photo session. Offer them something that they are most comfortable with like toys and let them play with toys. You’ll not only have a blast, but make your pet feel comfortable in the presence of another familiar being. It will surely provide you with a lot of amusing photos, some of which might end up in your portfolio!
5. Portraits from Animal’s Perspective
Think about all the pet photos you’ve seen before; what do they have in common? Pretty much all of them are taken from a human perspective. Sure, those puppy dog eyes looking up at us are cute, but they don’t make for spectacular photos. For that we have to take on a new approach. The best way to instantly improve your pet photography is to get down to the animal’s level. This might mean lying on the floor, but its well worth it when you’ve got a photo of the pet interacting with the world around it from the perspective of another animal.
6. Shoot minute Details
Animals have some really wonderful qualities that we don’t often pay much attention to at close range—wet noses, interesting patterns and colors in their fur, claws and paw pads, the shapes of their ears—these are all characteristics that deserve center stage in at least a few of your pet photos. If you have some trouble getting your pet to sit still for detail shots, you really only have to wait until nap time—most pets sleep a lot, and that’s the perfect time to sneak up on them and grab a few close-ups.
Let’s say you don’t really want to subject your pet to armor and fur robes, you can still change his environment enough to create a theme. Try breaking out a bottle of bubbles. Some dogs will go nuts trying to chase and catch bubbles, and that can make for some great action shots. But even if your dog doesn’t seem interested in those bubbles, they can still make for wonderful accents for your photograph.
Animals aren’t human, and while they do often understand basic commands they can’t understand what we want them to do. It can get frustrating at times when a dog moves the wrong way just as you press the shutter, but getting frustrated with them over it won’t help in the slightest. Be very patient with them and earn their trust. Anybody that has a pet knows that if you earn that animal’s unconditional trust it will repay you ten-fold, and that goes for pet photography as well.