5 Secrets to Great Pet Photography
December 21, 2013
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As a photographer, working with furry or feathered subjects isn't as difficult as you might expect. Offering pet photography can be a lucrative business, whether you're taking pet only portraits or including them in family shots. Here's how to make pets look their best on camera.
1. Choose a contrasting backdrop. When scheduling the portrait session, ask about the color of the pet. If they mention it's a black Labrador puppy, you don't want to have a black backdrop ready when they arrive. Create contrast between the pet's color and the backdrop. When in doubt, or for families with multiple pets, use a mottled backdrop with swirls of both light and dark colors.
2. Position the pet at the front. After making the effort to groom and transport the pet to the photo shoot, make him the center of attention. For large pets, do a floor pose, with the animal sitting or reclining at the front. Smaller pets show up well while cradled in the arms of a family member positioned at the front of the group.
3. Shoot fast and sharp. A pet's attention span mirrors a two-year-old when it comes to picture taking. You'll only have a few minutes to capture the moment, so work quickly. Use the automatic focus option, a zoom lens and turn on the camera's motor drive. This allows you to click perfectly focused frames in rapid succession.
4. Capture the pet's attention. As soon as your human subjects smile for the camera, surprise the pet with an uncommon vocal noise like a high pitched squeal or unexpected animal-like grunt. This creates that adorable, inquisitive head-tilt pose you often see on pet magazine covers. Always avoid squeaking a pet toy; the animal will run to you and expect playtime with the object.
5. Choose lighting options carefully. Avoid using an on-camera flash as a fill-flash or main light source. Instead, do pet photography outside with natural light or in the confines of a studio with a minimum of two lights: main and fill. This cross pattern of lighting minimizes eerie white or blue reflections from the pet's eyes.
Have you already ventured into photographing pets? How do you get them to pose? Share your pet photography ideas in the comments below.
Image source: morgueFile.com