Do you want to grow your career as a pet photographer? Or want to capture some memorable moments with your furry friend? Here some must-follow Pet photography tips for you to capture some valuable moments. This article’s discussed tips will surely help a PRO or pet lover capture some lively pet photographs.
Whether it is a family portrait with your pet or stand-alone pet photography, taking pictures is fun. All the pets are beautiful and have their character. Like a human, they cannot pose for the camera.
So pet photography is a combination of child and sports photography. Let’s look at some necessary equipment you need, and then we will discuss the pet photography tips and ideas for a better shot within minutes.
What Equipment is Necessary for Pet Photography?
You don’t need to have a bag full of equipment like a professional photographer. But some must-have equipment should be near your hand. They are,
The camera body is the first and foremost equipment of pet photography. Point and shoot cameras are easy and flexible for use.
Because of their compact and dedicated structure, they have held a special place. They are also affordable for a newbie photographer.
But in recent years, smartphones, DSLR, or mirrorless cameras are prominent. It may be a portrait or sports camera, depending on the location and goal of photography.
If you use point-and-shoot cameras, then the camera itself is enough. But for a DSLR, you need more than one lens.
For portrait photography, a wide-angle lens is fine. The prime wide-angle lens focused on a small area within a fixed focal distance. In a low-light situation, you will get a quality image that has a small focus area.
A telephoto or zoom lens is the opposite of a wide-angle lens. They offer a long focal length. Zoom lenses are for taking photos from a distance, so it is suitable for outdoor shooting. You can photo-shoot your pet without disturbing it.
Macro lenses are for capturing the fine details of the subject. It allows the photographer to capture your pet’s sharp details that may be unnoticed, like snout, sharp teeth or lovely paw, etc.
For outdoor shooting, sunlight is enough. You need to change your camera settings according to the light. But for an indoor shoot, you may need an additional light source. You can use a softbox or LED strips in different ways. Please make a small photography zone or set it at a different angle with separate settings.
You can keep a lightweight tripod with you. For pet photography, a small easy to move tripod is enough to hold your camera, light, or bag of the pet’s treats for quick access. At the time of the indoor shooting, it will help you a lot.
Extra Batteries and SD Cards
Nothing is worse than if you are in the middle of your photography and the battery dies, or the memory card is running out of space. Keep an extra fully charged battery and an SD card for any emergency use.
Make sure your pet is not bothered by your shooting sound. Assist them in feeling refresh and playful with different toys and treats. It will help to capture their actual personality.
Last but not least you need,
- A bag to carry out all the equipment. It should be large enough to hold everything. A waterproof bag gives you extra benefit during rough weather.
- Some good apps on your mobile phone to make different sounds and noise to catch the pet’s attention.
- DSLR camera essentials like- lens cover and cap, cleaning kit, kit box, etc.
- A hand towel, cap, sunglasses, knee pads, pets collar belt.
- Umbrella or raincoat for sunny or rainy weather for an outdoor shoot.
- Any favorite item of your pet that it likes most.
Now let’s move on to the tips and techniques.
7 Pet Photography Tips That You Must Need to Learn
Capturing your pet’s photo is much more likely to capture small children. You need to keep patient and interact to communicate with them.
They will not pose for the camera. But you have to find out the best moment during their activity. Let them play, run and relax. It may need a hundred shots for one best photo.
Select the Location for Pet Photography
The first step is to choose the location. For indoor shooting, select the area carefully, rearrange it if necessary, set up your necessary tools and equipment, make sure your pet is comfortable in that area.
It may be in your living room or the backyard. Include props in that area. It makes your pet cheerful.
Or you may want outdoor shooting. In that case, choose a location where the animal feels comfortable.
An area where you regularly walk with your pet, a garden, or park it to play before would be a good choice. For outdoor shooting, you may need some extra equipment.
Make a list before starting. For both indoor and outdoor shooting, plan the key shoot. Such as you want a portrait of your cat when it is relaxing or your dog’s naughty moment.
Point out in a notebook, go through and check if that shot can be possible in the selected area. If yes, then go to the next step.
Take Snaps Under the Best Light Condition
A successful shoot depends on proper scheduling. Schedule your plan in such a way that you can use the sunlight properly.
Softbox or LED strips are also okay. But these extra lights may distract your pet’s mood or create a red-eye image.
Overcast daytime is best for outdoor shooting. Excess sunlight is challenging for shooting.
For indoor shooting, select a place beside the window or a place with plenty of light. So you need not worry about flash and other lighting setups. If the environment is darker, boost the ISO setting.
Detach unnecessary background objects. If you want to shoot several areas at the same time, arrange it before shooting.
Remove all Jumbles
Your shooting list is ready; the shooting area is ready. Now start shooting? No. please wait and have a look around the location.
Is there any clutter or distracting objects?
Like a garbage can, empty coffee cup, shocks, etc., that you don’t want in your image background. The elements that do not enhance the photo pull it out.
You may add something that makes your photo more artistic. Like a roll of wool beside the furry cat or the Christmas presents at the back.
A jumble-free environment reduces your post-processing work.
Be Focused on Eyes and Expressions
If you want to take a portrait photo, keep in mind that it is all about the eye for any living subject. Further eyes are the main expressive body part. Eyes deliver mostly facial expressions.
Descend to the animal’s eye level, sit or lie on the floor, see how the pet sees the world, then make sure focus is on its eye. You may use single-point autofocus over one of the eyes.
Use natural light to sparkle the eye, highlight its unique personality. The pet will look smaller if you shoot from a higher position.
Some DSLR cameras offer eye AF (automatically focus). That means the camera itself identifies the eye of the subject and consistently focuses it. To catch a sharp eye, you may use this feature.
Your loving pet’s eyes will say its personality and expression. Try to capture its droopy eyes, looking upward, side glance, sparkly bright eye from a different perspective.
Capture His/ Her True Self
You know better about your pet’s personality. Is there any toy that your dog likes most or any place that likes to roam?
Let him do whatever he likes. And catch its real character without interrupting him. You may take a shot of your lazy cat at her nap time, or your dog being playful in the backyard take some fun shots.
Capture a photo of your pet being its true self is priceless. Find out its unique character and hold it on your camera.
In this case, location and timing are essential. For example, you select a place that he has never been to before; he may not like that place. Or want to shoot some fun moments, but he is sleepy. That’s awkward.
Take your time, Be patient.
As infants and toddlers, working with a pet is not an easy task. You have to handle them carefully. They don’t understand your command.
Be patient. You cannot expect a perfect shot by taking only one or two. For getting a winning shot, you may need to take a hundred attempts. It’s normal, don’t be disappointed.
Avoid using flash. Its harsh light may scare him and ruin his mood. Try to shoot in their world where they are comfortable.
Use natural light, move slowly, play and interact with him, reward him with treats and toys. Play some sound or noise to attract him. But don’t overuse it.
For pet portrait photography, it is better when they are sleepy or awake. On the other hand, for action shots, find a time when they are energetic.
You may not get both action photos and relaxed photos at one photography session.
Gift the Model : Pet Photography Tips
Use treats and toys to hold its attention. To capture its natural expression, let them play with their favorite toy.
Shot from a distance without interrupting it. You must have full attention to take a quick shot because you may not get a second chance. So prepare yourself first, then call it for attention.
After some successful shot, reward your pet. It is helpful to warm up and inspire it for photography.
You can also use this reward as props and tools for your photography. The rewards can be foods, toys or hugs, tummy rub, and other warm greetings.
What Camera Settings Should You Follow and Master at?
Let see some camera settings you must follow.
- Shutter Speed – For action photos, use 1/250 shutter speed or more than this if possible. At this speed, you will get a clear action photo. The higher the shutter speed, the more precise the photo is.
- Aperture – Use a wide aperture for a pet portrait. It will give you a sharp, detailed photo with a soft blurred background. Select the bottom f-stop number.
- Focus – Focus on the pet’s closest eye. Use continuous autofocus. Consider the focal length. For a faster shutter speed, you need a long focal length. 80mm -200mm focal length is enough. For portraits, use a single-point focus.
- ISO – Low ISO creates less noise photograph. As the ISO is increasing, the camera becomes more sensitive and adds more noise. Keep ISO low for a grain-free and smooth shot. ISO between 100-400 is enough.
- Background – select background carefully. Any bright color would distract the subject. Use a plain white or black background or a plain wall if possible. Place the subject up to 2 or 3 meters’ front. It will help to avoid the shadow. Use a faster lens. It will detach the subject from the background.
Key points to be noted,
- Don’t be in a hurry for the shot.
- Be patient.
- Use your equipment wisely.
- Properly set up your camera.
- Shot from their comfort zone.
- Keep calm and relaxed.
- Be energetic and experimental.
- Shot a lot of photos.
Final Thought On Pet Photography Tips
A great photo is not a technically perfect photo but a photo that evokes some strong feelings.
There are a lot of scopes to experiment with and create your unique one. Pets are also an excellent subject for photography. You will find a ton of pet photography tips and techniques over the internet.
Hopefully, these simple tips would be enough for a newbie pet photographer. Keep patient, continue shooting.
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