Primarily working in portraits, preschool and events photography, doing more pet portraits recently has definitely been different experience, but a very enjoyable one that I would love to continue and expand on. I’ve had multiple people tell me “never work with children or animals”, but some days when I leave my daycare photography job, I head straight to Tayla’s to take photos of her Groodles. Though each of these forms of photography are considered to be difficult, it’s extremely rewarding when you get the right shot, especially when you’re asked “how did you manage that?”
So, here a few of my tips on how to manage to get that perfect shot of your pooch!
Think about setting
A pet will feel a lot more relaxed in a setting they’re familiar with, even at home in the backyard. Taking them somewhere they haven’t been may be a bit exciting, and will give you a lot more trouble when trying to get their attention or let alone sit still.
Get to their level
Instead of standing and looking down on your pet, kneel down, and get to see the world from their perspective. Getting eye to eye with your pet is a lot more personal and allows everyone to see your pet from an angle they wouldn’t usually see.
Mix up your angles
When getting up close, try framing your pet in different ways, try focusing on different aspects of their face, get creative! When taking a step back, try different angles, maybe looking up at them to get a tree in the background.
Fast shutter speeds
If you’re working with a DSLR, crank up that shutter speed. Your shutter speed is the amount of time your shutter is open, especially with animals, you want your shutter to be faster to be able to catch those moments in sharp stillness before they jump or run out the way, or even to catch them in mid action. I would recommend over 1/200 a second, but if you’ve got the right lighting, go higher.
If you’re working with a basic digital camera, check the settings for a sport mode, this mode is designed to take photos of people in motion.
Work with them!
You may see some really cute stuff on Pintrest, but I can guarantee that most of those shots took a few times to get that perfect photo. As much as you want them to sit still sometimes, it’s just not always going to happen. If they’re not cooperating, give it a break, don’t make yourself too frustrated by trying to get the perfect shot. And remember sometimes the perfect shot isn’t one that you’ve set up, sometimes it just naturally happens in front of you, and if you keep calm, you can manage to maneuver your way around them and get some fun angles too!
The main thing is, have fun with your pet, not only creating beautiful images but being able to look back on those photos thinking about the great memories too!
If you’d like to look up any of my work, or get in contact: