Tips for Photographing Pets!

We all love cute cat photos or those perfectly timed puppy pics that totally show the dog's personality, right?

But these photos aren't always the easiest to get (though I would argue it's easier than photographing children, but that's another post.) 

Here are my tips for getting great photos of your pet!

Sunlight is always best unless your pet is light colored. If you're photographing a white or cream colored pet in direct sunlight it's difficult for details to show up such as spots, whiskers & any other cute little quirks your pet has.
Yes, still adorable, but your pet will probably end up looking like he/she is glowing (like the above photo.)

Here's an example of a photo of a white dog taken under a tree on a sunny day
Much clearer, and she doesn't look glowing. You can also see the detail of her beautiful green eyes and pink nose much better than if I photographed her in direct sunlight.
This photo of a ferret was taken indoors on a sunny day close to several windows so I still had good lighting, but not direct sunlight.

On a dark colored animal sunlight does wonder for the appearance of their coat.
Look at that shine!

If you're photographing a dog you want to take into account the shape of your dog's head.

Dog's with flatter heads tend to photograph much better from a profile view where dogs with rounder heads such as golden retrievers look better facing you.

Here are some examples

Flatter head
From profile view
You can see how much more his personality shines here as opposite to the front view photo!

Round head
From profile view
See the difference?

Hyper Pets & Action Shots
So we all have (or know) that hyperactive dog who will not stay still for photos. If you can't seem to get your pet to stay still I suggest exercise beforehand or waiting until your pet gets cozy on the couch or bed to quickly sneak some photos

Or you could always try for action shots of your pet playing.

If you're trying for action shots I suggest using a camera with a fast shutter speed OR setting your camera to take as many shots in a row as possible (though these photos will generally not be as clear)
Getting Your Pet's Attention
"Is that a bird???"

So I think everyone's first instinct is to whistle, yell, clap or somehow make a lot of noise to get your pet's attention, but this doesn't work for every dog/pet.

In this case, I used a ball to get her attention since she's a very playful dog, she's the kind of dog that if you call her or make noise there's no way she's going to look at you! You can use whatever you know gets your pet's attention; treats, toys or anything else your pet loves.
"Oh, you want me to look here? Okay!"

Head Tilt
Is it just me or are head tilts the cutest thing ever?

So for this picture I whistled, but the key is changing the tone of the whistle either going higher than lower or vice versa doing this I'm always able to get the head tilts of certain kinds of dogs because it evokes curiosity rather than something staying at the same tone.

So what do I mean by certain kinds of dogs? 

Dogs that are playful, but calm.

If you whistle or make loud noises to a nervous dog (or any nervous animal) you're going to get the opposite of what you want. Never whistle to get a shy dog's attention because you're likely going to cause a negative or fearful reaction. 

In this case I suggest being calm & quiet. Use treats to get the dog's attention or allow the dog more time to get comfortable with you and/or its surroundings.

 Do not whistle or make otherwise loud noise unless you want to get ran into (speaking from experience.) Instead, exercise the dog beforehand, opt for action shots or get someone else to hold the leash, and then use above methods (food/toy) to get your dog's attention.

I hope these tips were helpful, and if you try them out be sure to send me pictures of your pets!