5 Tips for Better Pet Photos - Courtenay Pet Photography

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to be featured in Shaw TV's "Andrena's Pics" with Andrena Koch Schulte. I talked about 5 tips for getting better photos of your pet. So I thought it would be a good idea to recap the tips here on my blog. These tips are relevant whether you are using a dslr camera, point and shoot, or phone camera. 

Go from this:

Maggie needs a haircut, but that's beside the point! The ugly surroundings and the angle of view are not very flattering. We can do better!

Maggie needs a haircut, but that's beside the point! The ugly surroundings and the angle of view are not very flattering. We can do better!

To this:

Ahh, much nicer! I am at eye level with Maggie, and the background is out of focus. It looks like she's staring into my soul! (But I think she's just thinking about the treats in my pocket!).

Ahh, much nicer! I am at eye level with Maggie, and the background is out of focus. It looks like she's staring into my soul! (But I think she's just thinking about the treats in my pocket!).

Tip #1: Get Down Low

Most of the time we are looking down at our pets, so for a more interesting perspective, get down on their level. You get to see the world from their vantage point and it makes for a much more dynamic shot. Or, if you don't want to get your jeans dirty, have them jump up on a bench so you don't have to bend down as far.

Tip #2: Get Some Help

Unless you have a really docile pet, it will save you a lot of time and stress if you have someone to assist you. Your helper can position the pet, hold the leash if you are in a public place, get them to look in the right direction by holding up a treat or making funny noises. It helps if they hold the treat right next to the lens of your camera.

Be sure to take some action shots, too. Your assistant can help you out by throwing a ball over your head so the dog will run towards you.

In this shot of Aiku, I had my daughter throw a treat toward me then quickly move out of the way so she wouldn't be in the background.

In this shot of Aiku, I had my daughter throw a treat toward me then quickly move out of the way so she wouldn't be in the background.

Tip #3: Make it Fun

Your pet has a very short attention span, so if you want to get the best out of them, make sure it's engaging and fun. Rewards are a fantastic way to get your pet to cooperate. Just give them a little at a time so they don't get too full. My dog Maggie will do almost anything for a treat. But for other dogs, it could be a chance to play with a ball or chewing on a squeaky toy. 

Tip #4: Minimize Distractions

Everyone has probably seen a picture of someone with a tree or light pole behind their head as if it's growing there. Not very flattering! So before you start clicking away, have a look at the background and adjust your position accordingly. Try to keep branches, trees, people, etc out of your shot so you can focus on the star of your photo: your pet. It also helps if you move them away from the background to create separation. This will throw the background out of focus and you will get a more pleasing shot.

Having the background blurry focuses the attention on Jazz.

Having the background blurry focuses the attention on Jazz.

Tip #5: Have Patience

This is probably the most important tip! Remember, your pet doesn't understand why you are pointing weird objects at them and telling them to do certain things. If you get stressed out you will not get the best out of them and it won't be an enjoyable experience for anybody. So just relax, have fun and take lots of pictures, knowing that it might take 5, 10 or 20 shots before you have the one you are happy with. Enjoy the time you have with your pet and do your best!

 

I hope these 5 tips will help you the next time you want to get some shots of your furry friend. Here's the episode if you would like to view my segment on Shaw TV. Cheers!