A Skill Required for Pet Owners: Learning How to Take Incredible Pet Photos
Why we need to learn some pet photography
Taking pictures for our dear furry friends is an unique way to record their short but happy life. With the average longevity of 15 years, they are short-lived compared with us. The best way to react to the short life is not to neglect it, but to face it and deal with it. We can choose to take some steps to record the moment when you two are together.
As Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 18, “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see. So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. ” Similarly, photos are human’s great creation to fight against the indifferent passing of time. Let happiness stay forever on the surface of photos we take for pets.
Before shoot: preparations matter
- Get the pet prepared.
Relax it. your emotional conditions can greatly affect pet’s feelings. This is good since your positive emotions can make them feel stable, confident and relaxed, too. Don’t let the “flattened ears and concerned eyes” look appear on your pet. Enjoy the shoot experience together.
Spend some time to know the pet you are not familiar with. If you are going to shoot others’ pets, taking several days to get close to the pet and its owner before photo shoot is necessary. What make the pet sit still? What does it like and dislike? What are the character traits of it? What kind of quality does the owner want to make stand out? Its loyalty, kindness, cuteness or elegance? You should have a general idea of these things.
- Get the environment ready.
Find a place with bright and diffusing light since good light is everything in photograph. Natural light is the easiest to handle for newbies to pet photography. Find a place with bright but diffused light. A place near the window is also a good choice.
Clear the clutters. When taking photo indoors, house cleaning and clearing clutters and any distracting items is needed. Believe me, a pet picture with a bowl of instant noodles left the last night on the background has no relevance to beauty. The idea of less is more is applicable here. The clutters are distracting. A pet photo should concentrate on how to make the pet stand out and how to capture its uniqueness. Less distractions mean more attention on the model.
- Get yourself prepared.
Do some stretching to warm up your body. You may have noticed how many times professional photographers have to bend, twist, crawl and crouch in photo shoot. Stretching to warm up the muscles can ensure you an easy access to the perfect compositions in your mind.
- Set the theme of pictures.
Finding a concept for a list of pictures helps. Focusing on one concept at a time, you will have a better idea of what you want to capture, emphasize and displace. In addition, theme-orientation can save time and resources.
Use a fast shutter speed, continuous focus, and burst mode. This is usually seen in sports photography to which pet photography is similar given that models are so energetic and curious.
Be patient and quiet. Don’t yell at the pet to give commands such as “sit” and “stay”. This only makes them nervous. Try to communicate non-verbally with pets to give demand with gestures and other communication methods your pet has be trained to use. Different from self-controlled human beings, pets often have the difficulty to keep still and indifferent to what is happening around them. The photographers should remain patient.
Move slowly. Your suddenly standing up can cause the pet to stand up with you. Move slowly and quietly around the pet unless you are filming documentaries of moving creatures.
Use treats and toys to pay and please the model. The toys and treats the pet likes is a great motivation for its cooperation in photo shoots. Provide them to it throughout the process of shooting to keep it focused.
Work in play and interaction. Pet photography is somewhat different from other photography since the model is not an object or decoration of photos. Instead, the pet is constantly and happily interacting with the man behind the camera. Thus, pictures taken in interactions and play are more real and touching.
Shoot at their eye level. Kneel down to shoot in their world is a great method to get close to them and find their different characters. Bend down and get close to their head to understand what they want to express and to see the world at their level.
Focus on their eyes and expressions. Eyes are the centre of innocence and bright of a pet. It seems that they can absorb all the light and colors can transform it to something warm and soft. You will get lost in its eyes.
Theory means little until it is verified by practice. What are you waiting for? Use these tips to take the first incredible photo for your furry friends!