Is your pooch the most adorable pup around? Is your cat the cutest of them all? We, obviously, all adore our furry family members and think the world of them. You snap photos of them on-the-fly a lot, right? Some are blurry, some are cluttered with background distractions, and some are just plain bad.
Why not set up a pet portrait photo shoot with your furry friend to get pro-looking shots.
We will agree that pet portrait photoshoots can be a little challenging. Cats will do whatever they want to do even if you insist they stay put and look cute. And let’s be honest, dogs can be quite unpredictable. But it’s not as complicated as it sounds. We have a few tips and tricks for you that will make it easier to get those great photos of your beloved pet.
Decide on what type of photos you want. Do you want a solid background or do you want to photograph your pet in his or her natural setting? You know your pet best and you will determine if you think your pet would de better going about as usual while you snap some photos or do you think they may be up to sitting in the same spot for a while.
Lighting is key to getting pro-looking photos. But let’s face it, most of us don’t own fancy studio lighting. You’ll want to choose an area with the best natural lighting, by a window for example. Outside is also a good option.
You can also use ring lights to add extra lighting. You’ll want to get those great catch-lights in your pet’s eyes as much as possible.
You’ve seen those great shots from the pros where the animal is set in front of a solid backdrop. This can enhance the animal’s features. You can hang a solid cloth like a sheet or a blanket on a wall and have it rest on the floor. Place your pet on the cloth.
It’s best to photograph your pet in a more natural environment if you doubt he or she can sit still long enough for you to get good shots. Trust us, you’ll want to avoid the frustration.
Declutter the area where you want to photograph your pet. Nobody wants to see the laundry basket in the background or the coffee mugs on the table. Take a look around and remove objects that you think can be distracting.
Look how distracting the basket and other objects are in the background in this photo. Dogs are cute, but the photo isn’t.
Prepare your phone for the shoot with these simple tips:
- Don’t activate the HDR feature as this may slow down your camera shutter speed.
- Avoid using the zoom and move in with your feet.
- The flash on most smartphones can be quite harsh and will create unpleasant shadows. Try to avoid using it for your pet portraits.
- Use Portrait Mode. Enough cannot be said about this great feature that most smartphones have now. This will create a blurry background effect and keep the focus on your pet.
- Focus on the eyes! Lock the focus on the eyes by tapping your phone and holding. The focus will be set to stay on the eyes while you shoot, even if your pet moves.
This is a great item to have for pet portraits, especially if you are doing a “studio” setting photoshoot. It will keep your phone steady while you work on getting your pet’s attention.
Shutter triggers are great because you can step away from your camera and interact with your pet. Or even get in on the shot!
Treats, Props, and Encouragement
Encourage your pet and try to get his or her’s attention with toys, sounds, and treats. Treats are especially helpful when they are listening well and doing what you are asking of them. Dogs are much easier than cats in this regard.
Look for the Human-to-Cat Translator and the Human-to-Dog Translator apps in Google Play or the App Store. Ok, these are not actual translators, but they can help catch your pet’s attention with sounds that are interesting and intriguing to them. Catch the surprised look on your dog’s face or the alert eyes of your cat looking straight at your phone.
Stay Calm and Be Patient
Don’t stress your pet out by raising your voice or shouting commands. They will get confused and aggravated and you won’t get any good shots this way.
Remain calm and your pet will too. Observe how your pet is acting and change your plans if you need to. Patience and versatility are key when it comes to photographing unpredictable beings like animals.
- Try different angles. Get on the ground at eye level, for example. Or take shots from above.
- Get as close as you can. Try to capture those expressions in the eyes.
- Take lots of pictures. You can always delete the ones you don’t want.
After you have chosen the best shots from your photoshoot, it’s time to edit. Editing apps like Snapseed are great for enhancing the colors or fixing the exposure of your photos. Some apps have preset filters that you can play around with. Also, try editing some of the photos into black&white for a more dramatic look. You can also crop your photos to zoom in on your pet’s face or eyes.
Share Your Fun
Once you’ve got some shots that you’re proud of, post and share them with friends and family. They’ll be impressed by your new photo skills. Share this article with them if they have pets so they too can take some pro-looking photos of their furry family members.