Professional photographers make pet photography look very easy, but any person who has actually ever before tried to photo a wild or domestic animal like a pet cat or a dog recognises it is anything but easy! Were here to give you our top tips for creating stunning pet portraits.
1 Take it easy and relax
Pets can read us like a book so make sure youre relaxed and calm and they will be too. A worried pet will certainly provide you flattened ears or worried eyes in their portraits, and nobody wants that.
2. Focus on the eyes
The eyes are the window to a soul, both on a humans and an animals face, so if you intend to create actually appealing pictures, focus on the eyes and also faces. A well-timed squeak or young puppy whine (from you) can attract the right kind attention and get them looking straight down your lens for the perfect pet portraits
3. Keep it clean
Before you even pull your camera out of the kit bag, take a look around at your photography location and remove any clutter or ugly items to keep the image clean and all about the dog. Outdoor backgrounds with plenty of greenery and a good amount of distance between the dog and the background are ideal.
4. Shoot in their hood
Photographing the dog in their home environment is going to relax them a lot and help you get the best images. If you go to a park or a beach, while the backgrounds can be lovely and make the picture really special, there are so many smells and distractions around that a dog can be become aloof and distracted.
6. Follow the light
Great light is key in digital photography, specifically in animal photography, where it's important to be able to see the reflections or catchlights in the pet's eyes.
Dont photograph in dark places or on very cloudy days Intense yet diffused light is the best and most effective to develop lovely pet photos which will look great on your wall. Dont be afraid to wait for the best time of day to shoot and avoid directly overhead midday sun as that can be tough to work with and cause the dog to squint.
7. Reward your model
Everybody requires some sort of motivation to maintain enthusiasm throughout the shoot, so make sure you bring them their favourite treats or toys. Establish what they are encouraged by and also give it to them throughout your shoot in sparing quantities so they dont eat too much!
Keep dogs motivated by making their tasks interesting and changing up the situation or location regularly so they dont become bored or restless.
8. Make a shotlist
Do you have something specific in mind for the cute dog photos
? Do you require an upclose and intense image which focusses on their nose or eye. In which case youll need to plan accordingly and use a wide angle or macro lens to get close on that detail. Maybe you prefer a classic black and white portrait, so the location doesnt have to be a park or garden and could be done at home in a mobile studio.
9. Keep the noise down
There is no quicker method to puzzle or scare a dog than to bark commands at them consistently.
Once again, keeping the dog calm and helping them relax will get the best from the shoot.
Try interacting with the pets the means they do each other- nonverbally. Usage hand signals or indicate invite them 'over right here'. Make use of the sit hand signal for pets that have been trained to recognise it. Avoid saying the pet's name, because the more times they hear it during an image shooting, the more likely they are to tune out.
In my viewpoint, there's absolutely nothing more annoying than a pet photographer and the dogs owner towering over a dog and repeating "sit Bonzo, ... SIT! Sit. Down! Sit Bonzo. Bonzo! Siiiit. I said SIT".
Unsurprisingly the dog will be puzzled. The less instructions you give and less name calling you do, the much better the dog will respond and the shoot will be, which will then give you the perfect pet portraits youd been hoping to capture. Good luck and dont forget to have fun!
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