All pet owners love their pets and share a lot of happiness with them. Dogs and cats being the most common of pets around the house, they are also the most commonly photographed. Photographing pets can sometimes be quite frustrating. We hope this article makes it easier for you to capture some nice memories of your pet.
Give them Something to Play with
Pets simply cannot resist running around, much to the disappointment of anyone hoping to photograph them. Luckily its not very hard to capture their attention either. A string tied to something at one end is enough to make the kitten curious as can be. Why not give it something like this to hold its attention while you shoot some photographs? A little help from a friend would always make things simpler for you as a pet photographer. If you are photographing a puppy, a ball would be the right prop in most cases.
Photographing pets is a lot like photographing kids. Their emotions are never fake and you just can’t have them pose when they don’t want to! A photographer needs to be quite the psychologist when photographing pets, and you need a lot of patience at times. It is far easier photographing your own pets, since you would know their reactions and their habits. When photographing someone else’s pets, it is definitely a great help to have the owner around as he or she talks to the pets, making them comfortable and encouraging them to play. Why not get a few images of the pets with their owners as well?
It is good to shoot with a moderate zoom lens when shooting pets or even children for that matter. You don’t want to get so close to the animals so as to make them very conscious of your presence. Pets have the habit of making sudden dart-like movements! I’d suggest using a small aperture to get maximum depth of field, a fast shutter speed to capture those quick movements, and consequently a high ISO setting unless you are shooting in very bright sunlight.
Since pets do have unpredictable and often super quick movements, do shoot on the burst mode if your camera has this capability. Nine times out of ten, you will find only a few acceptable images out of hundreds from the continuous shooting frames, but those few would be winning shots.
Just like photographing portraits of people, the eyes are crucial if you are shooting a portrait of your pet as well. This may not be easy all the time, but do try and get those catch lights in the eyes. For such images maybe you could wait for the time your pet is a little tired after all the running and playing. When it is possible, make the eyes your points of focus. You may want to use manual focus when shooting pets, because the camera AF can get fooled with the constant movements!