Whether you’re looking to make your pet an Instagram superstar or just fill up your family photo album, being able to take a good snap of your pet is an important life skill. From focus, lighting and composition we’ve got bags full of tips to make you the next potential Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
The first tip is to have plenty of patience. Animals don’t understand what a camera is or what you’re trying to achieve and getting frustrated about it will only create a negative atmosphere and likely put your pet off wanting to interact at all. Try and keep things calm and playful. You’re much likely to get a good shot if your pet is having a nice time.
Natural light always works best for photos, so it’s best to try and shoot outdoors when possible. If not, find a room with a big window and lots of natural light flooding in. A flash can be used if necessary, but never point it directly at your pet as this could startle them and you’ll likely end up with red eye and harsh shadows. Instead, get a diffuser, or point the flash upwards so that the light bounces off the ceiling and back down onto the subject.
When thinking about how you want your photos to look, try and get down to your pet’s level. This will add an interesting perspective and allow you to see things from their point of view. Make sure your camera is always focused on your pet’s eyes. Most cameras will automatically focus on the point closest to the lens, which if you’re taking the photo looking directly at your pet will likely be their nose. Focusing on your pet’s eyes will bring a pop of character and intensity to your photos. Apple have just made this even easier for its users as the iPhone 11 comes with Pet Portrait mode!
The best composition always goes back to the golden rule of photography, The Rule of Thirds. This involves imagining a grid of two vertical and horizontal lines running across your image (most mobile phone cameras offer this function) and then lining up your pet in one of the places where the lines meet. Many photographers believe this way of taking photos is the most pleasing to the eye.
With these tips in mind, you are now free to shoot to your heart’s content and fill up your walls with all your beautiful pet photography.