Let’s face it. Your pets get treated as well, if not better, than your children. So its no surprise that we want to show off pictures of our furry friends to everyone. Be it on Facebook, Instagram, or just your wallet photos, you’re proud to flaunt those cute pictures of Fluffy.
So how do you get the best pictures of your pet? While fancy SLR cameras offer beautiful pictures, they’re not required to capture the perfect moment with your pet. Here are a few tips to help you snap great pictures with a simple point and shoot, or even your handy camera phone!
See eye to eye.
All too often, people take pictures of their pets looking down at them. It’s something most pet owners don’t think twice about - because, after all, you do spend most of your time seeing them from that angle. However, this angle creates foreshortening in your picture, causing the proportions to distort. The picture you snap will not capture the accurate adorable face that you love so much!
To avoid this, sit or kneel in front of your pet on the ground. If you have a smaller dog or cat, have them sit on a couch or chair, and then snap your shot. Taking pictures from their height is bound to yield a better - I mean cuter - picture of Fluffy.
See? Much better!
Use natural light.
Another common mistake is flash and indoor photography. The are several factors that come into play here.
When you photograph inside, you are relying on one or more light sources. Whether its a lamp or overhead light, chances are that they are altering the color of your picture. Fluorescent lighting makes your picture look cold, while incandescent lights make the picture very warm.
To compensate for dim lighting, your camera will probably turn on an auto-flash setting. This comes in handy when you want capture a split second of Fluffy wearing that ridiculous cowboy costume you bought him. However, flash is generally going to yield an unflattering picture of your pet. Flash washes out color, and often eliminates important details, like the texture of their fur. Lastly, and most importantly, flash produces red eye on your subject. While a pet’s ‘red eye’ looks more like a green/grey, it still flattens the eye and blocks their true eye color.
In this picture, Ranger's color is completely washed out, and his eyes are flat.
Whenever possible, use natural light. Sit outside with your pet. Have them face the sun - or at least face away from shadows. If you have a pet that can’t go outside, like an indoor cat, have them sit beside a window with lots of light.
See how in this picture, Ranger has beautiful blue eyes, and color in his face?
Capture their personality.
If Fluffy would rather snooze on the couch all day than go for a hike, than the couch might be a fitting place to photograph him. On the other hand, if Fluffy enjoys a good romp at the dog park, an outdoor scene would make a better photo of him. The important thing to remember is to let the photo depict your pet’s personality.
Consider using props, like their favorite toys or blankets, to include in the picture. On the other hand, consider the picture as a whole, and avoid having excess or unnecessary objects in the picture. Having too many things in your picture makes it distracting for the viewer to focus on your pet.
From this portrait, you can tell what a happy, energetic Corgi Paddington is!
Hire a photographer.
I can say from honest experience that you cannot beat the quality of pictures taken be a professional. Pet photographers know exactly how to make your pet look their best. Your pets do have a 'good side', you know! Proper lighting, depth of field, and shutter speed are all things that a pet photographer can handle - and trust me - once you see the pictures you'll be astonished at the difference it makes!
If you're in the Connecticut area, I highly recommend Kathryn Schauer Photography. The picture on the left is a perfect example of capturing the ideal moment, with the help of a pet photographer of course.
I hope these tips help you to capture the best moments with your furry friend!
I eat, sleep, and breathe art. I'm fond of horses and put ketchup on everything. =]