Pets can be as unruly as a child, which makes taking their pictures quite a challenge.
Good thing there are tricks that can save the day and ensure a subject well captured and immortalized in print. How do you take better photos of pets?
On-location or in-studio
Either option poses different challenges, but many suggest to take into account which is most comfortable for pets. Doing so will make a photo session easier for everyone involved.
Of course, if a client wants a studio shot, you’ll have to deliver. This means making adjustments to your camera and gear to get the best picture. The same is true if what is required is an on-location shot.
If you want to use a black or dark background, for example, the camera can be set to ISO 100, 70mm, 1/125, f/2.8. Set the flash to 1/8 power and the shutter speed at 1/125th of a second.
Use the right lens
A long lens with a zoom is best for pets in action. A 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom, for instance, eliminates any struggle you might have with fast movements and variable maximum apertures.
Especially when shooting outdoors, you want to avoid any exposure inconsistencies that can come from cheaper zoom lenses with a large range. This is why the right lens matters.
If what you have is a prime lens with fixed focal length, you can still photograph pets. Just make sure they are not moving a lot or too fast since zooming can be harder with this type of lens.
As for wide angle lens, use them when you plan to “shoot blind” or without looking through the viewfinder and while holding the camera down low. Consider increasing the depth of field, especially if your focus is off, to begin with.
Get the lighting right beforehand
Nothing beats a great photo shoot than getting everything ready before your subject stands in front of a camera. Considering that pets can become bored or agitated, get your lighting dialed in beforehand.
Although you would have to make some changes once a pet is in place, the adjustments would not take as long. It would also help if you know what a pet looks like before the shoot, so you can nail down the details in advance.
You have to be prepared to bribe pets to stay in place or keep their head tilted to their best angle. Make sure their owners bring their favorite treats if you don’t have anything on hand.
Use a distraction
Some pets don’t like having a camera pointed at them so you should offer some form of distraction. Someone who can keep them distracted without necessarily prompting them to be running around or looking away from the camera will be most helpful.
Practice, practice, practice
This is especially important if you’re taking close up portraits. Remember how some pets don’t like a camera on their face? Practicing to get the best close-up shot quickly will certainly help get the job done.
You can also time the shot right. That is, point and shoot when a pet is more tuckered out and is highly likely to stay in place.