Pet Photography : 5 Tips for Photographing Furry Ones

in a way pet photography is one of the easiest and hardest types of photography.  it is easy because pets are truly candid, each and every time.  they aren’t nervous about being photographed, most aren’t anyways, and they are genuine so the photographs are always unique and authentic.  but photography pets also comes with it’s challenges because, if your pets are like mine, they get really excited when attention comes to them and move so very quickly.  i think one of the best things about pet photography is, like humans, every pet is so unique and different.  they each have their own personality that just begs to be photographed.  it will be your goal to portray their personality through the image.  if you are struggling with pet photography, here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you have a cute furry face in front of your camera.

here are 4 things to do before you take a picture.  are you doing them?

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Pet Photography : 5 Tips For Photographing Furry Ones

Pet Photography : 5 Tips For Photographing Furry Ones | Bethadilly Photography

1. Use Training Treats

yep, i said it.  bribe that cute little animal with yummy things.  if i am doing pet photography for a client, i have them bring their own treats for a couple of reasons.  one, they know what their dog likes.  and two, i don’t want to be responsible for any allergies.  for my own puppies, i like to use training treats as bribes because they are small enough to give out multiple times throughout the act of picture taking, for encouragement.  while i prefer candid pet photography, with pets not necessarily looking at the camera, there are times when i really want to capture their attention.  for moments like this, i place the treat near my camera lens so that, when they look at the treat, they are essentially looking right at the camera.  click.  bingo.  winner, winner!

2.  Allow Them To Get Their Energy Out

there are times when it will be easier to photograph pets, and times when it will be more difficult.  for me, there is no chance on earth of me getting anything i want after i say the word, “walk?”  my dogs get all kinds of crazy just seeing a leash.  but after the walk?  the time is right and the camera comes out.  dogs are simple, they like to play and go for walks.  if you are truly trying to capture a particular photo, try allowing them to get some energy out beforehand.  obviously, you don’t want to exhaust them…unless a sleeping pup picture is what you are going for.  but just let them run off that “oh there is a camera, i want to lick it” excitement.

Pet Photography : 5 Tips For Photographing Furry Ones | Bethadilly Photography

3.  Be A Ninja

this is my biggest secret to getting good photos of my dogs.  i am literally a ninja.  if i see my dog doing something cute, i discreetly slide out of the room to grab my camera and quietly enter the room again to attempt the photo.  dogs get really excited when you turn your attention toward them, so making slow and subtle movements and keeping quiet is the key here.  especially if you want to get on their level.  try not to make any sudden movements that will either scare them, make them stop what they are doing, or turn their attention toward anything other than what they were originally doing.

4. Use A Fast Shutter Speed

just like kids, dogs are fast!  be sure you use a fast shutter speed like 1/125 or faster to capture their movement and freeze motion.

5.  Be Willing To Improvise

patience is key here.  if you didn’t use your ninja skills and you have distracted your pup, ruining the moment, be willing to try again.  sometimes this means encouraging them to continue doing whatever they were doing, or it may mean coming up with a new photo all together.  sometimes leaving the room and entering (like a ninja) again, may help push a reset button and you may find that they are placing their focus back on their original task, instead of on you.  should your original plan not work out, be willing to improvise.  some of my best pet photography was achieved because an original plan didn’t go as planned and i just went with it and let my dog direct my photography.

pet photography can really be fun, especially because the subjects are so darn cute.  in ways, pets are like small children in that, if you want to get the photo, you better get it before their patience is out.  let them direct your vision, be patient, and be sure to utilize treats in the moments when you want to capture their eyes looking at the camera.  and don’t forget to capture their unique personality as those are the photos that are truly authentic.

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Pet Photography : 5 Tips For Photographing Furry Ones | Bethadilly Photography

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