Pet Photography Tips


Pet Photography Tips:

When photographers think of pet photography they tend to imagine one of two possible groups of animals – the formal domestic pets or the wild animals. For this discussion we will take a quick look at each style and consider how to get the best effects.

Before attempting to get started in pet photography of any kind (wild or domestic) it is important to a bit of study or research. For example, if you plan to find the nesting area of some Great Horned Owls and wait for them to emerge at dusk, you might also need to know their general habits, whether or not they are hostile, and how they might react to your presence. Additionally, your research might make it much easier to locate the birds in the first place and to stake out a better spot to photograph them.

The research for the domestic pet portrait is more observational and simply requires the photographer to visit the animal, or animals, home and allow them to get used to their equipment and their person. This is an ideal way to also learn a bit about an animal’s personality which can then be captured in the photographs taken.

For example, if a few house cats are very comedic and seem to enjoy making their human housemates laugh, you will be able to observe this and figure out a few ways to get their humour on film. If, however, an animal is more serious and dignified you will quickly discover this as well, and your time spent in observation can allow you to mentally prepare your camera for the best shots.

Photo by Joe Leahy

Where wildlife is concerned, however, the observation process may not be so easy and can even necessitate the use of blinds or hiding places. When you do locate the position you will use for your photographic sessions, you will want to remember to put your camera into silent mode and disable the flash unit.

What if you need the flash? You may want to reconsider this because there are few animals whose eyes do not reflect the light back at the sensor, and this can often ruin the quality of the image. Additionally, you may permanently “spook” an animal from the area by blasting them with a flash unexpectedly. If you absolutely must have additional light, you will want to try to use ambient lighting and camera settings whenever possible.

Naturally, this may be very difficult in cases such as nocturnal animals. Consider that you will probably use a slower telephoto lens that with the camera mounted on a tripod to prevent shake, and without the flash the shutter speed may be too slow. If you absolutely must add a flash to your gear you may want to add a flash extender which projects the light in a bit of a diffused and less startling manner.

Top Photo by Benjamin Earwicker

About the Author

Amy is an multi-award winning photographer from Australia. She teaches enthusiast photographers how to take beautiful, professional photos in easy, plain English. She has a monthly photography emagazine and ebooks to help you create stunning images every time.

Comments (6)

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  1. Steve says:

    Pets become part of the family so we should take every opportunity to capture the special moments and i’m sure their will be many.

  2. Alain L says:

    i’ve read a lot of articels about this and none of them were as easy to understand as this one. Either one of them spoke about the technical side and confused me or how you could only do certain things if you were a seasoned pro. This is a great article for beginner. This one’s must be read by everyone who’s considering photography..
    Thanks a lot for this one!

  3. Bob Johnson says:

    A great piece – thank you so much for posting it. I would definitely recommend thet every one else should have a look at it.

  4. Blake says:

    That is probably the cutest leopard that I have ever seen. Someone should tell the Walt Disney Company about him so the can make a movie.

  5. Mani says:

    Amy I really enjoy your posts, thank you so much.

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