Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to Take Pet Photos

Recently, I was very fortunate enough to do a short photo shoot at Hurley Park with Samantha and her little dog Lulu. I asked Samantha if she would be willing to do a shoot with her dog specifically for my blog, and she gladly accepted.

Because of the Fall weather, Samantha took complete advantage of that by pairing her pink sweater to Lulu's pink sweater and pink toenails.

Here are a few tips to remember when incorporating pets into portraits:

1. Be aware of your animal's temperament. That means have a leash to restrain hyper or aggressive dogs because depending on your venue, you may come across other animals. This goes for crate carrier for your cat too.

During this photo, Lulu barked ferociously at dog that was being walked on the road behind me.

2. If taking photos in a public place, please bring some sort of bathroom cleanup kit for your pet. There's no reason to leave behind unexpected gifts for others to find.

3. Action shots are great of animals; but for portraits, you almost always have to have the animal restrained somehow. I suggest having the pet owner be in most of the shots. This way you get an awesome shot of the owner with the pet instead of a shot of the pet with random hands or a leash restraining it.

4. Be wary of home comfortable an animal is with being held, lifted, etc. when looking for those unique poses. Lucky for us, Lulu was okay with being lifted in this next shot.

5. As a photographer, you need to take the time to get to know the animal beforehand. I have know Lulu since Samantha first got her, but it has been years since I have seen her. So, I took the time to regain her trust by letting her sniff me and eventually being able to pet her. If the animal does not trust you, you will not be able to pose the animal how you want without upsetting or getting yourself bitten.

6. The final and probably the most important step is that the owner needs to bring some sort of treat to give the pet. It's classic behavior modification, but on a smaller more immediate scale. If the pet remains still for a series of shoots, feel free to praise the pet and have the owner give him or her a treat. Some continued reinforcement of the right behavior for the photography shoot with treats tells the pet that he or she is doing something right. You can usually get your best results this way.

Taking photos of pets requires a lot of patience and flexibility. You need to be able to shoot at the right time to get the shot. Sometimes you may find yourself needing to shoot at a higher shutter speed to capture the pet in motion. This was not the case for me seeing as Lulu was an absolute angel for the entire shoot. Just have your finger on the shooting trigger at all times and be ready to snap that golden shot.

R.I.P. Lulu

Sadly, a week or so after the photo shoot Lulu passed away from health complications. I was extremely happy that Samantha allowed me to shoot these photos for her to remember her sweet dog by.

If you are a pet lover, I suggest that you get some portraits shots of you and your pet because you never know when their time with you will be up. It's a great way to spend an hour or so at the park with your pet and to enjoy the time spent together taking photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment