From my pet-photography-tool-box!
I have been asked to write about tricks in pet photography so I will write a few posts on this topic over the next month and back them up with images. Please don't hesitate to add your comments and raise questions and I will do my best to answer them.
I want to start with the easier scenario - photographing your dog indoors. Your pet has less room to roam and run away from you or simply run around like crazy. You will find many opportunities in your home. Capture your pet on his or her bed or a favourite sunny spot. If your dog is permitted on furniture, you can set up lovely images on the couch, bed or other favourite furniture. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Go down - lower yourself to be on the same level as your pet. You may even try to go lower and shoot upwards.
|Too many distracting items on around Belgian Shepherd Kaela|
Clean composition - try and get your pet in a clutter-free environment.
Too many items around your pet are only distracting from your main subject as shown in this image to the right.
Don't be afraid to use the crop tool afterwards and you can improve many images and give them more focus.
|An engaging portrait of Belgian Shepherd Kaela|
In this image, despite the less than ideal background, Kaela is the clear subject of the image. The image is filled with her portrait, it is engaging and there is good eye contact.
Don't be afraid to get close!
|The dreaded glary eyes!|
Lighting - if you are lucky you can work with natural light coming through the window or a skylight. Avoid a light that is too harsh but natural light can work really nicely. If it is too dark, you will need to use a flash. A point and shoot camera usually has a weak flash - so move close to your subject. Avoid the dreaded glare in the eyes by shooting your pet from the side or in profile. Or deal with it later on the computer. The image to the right shows the effect, apart from other compositional issues and a less than flattering pose of my dog Sidney!
If you have an SLR and you are able to remove your flash from the camera it is going to have the best results. Position your flash at about 45 degrees, ideally bounce the light from the ceiling or a white wall onto your pet or use a reflector for the flash of your camera.
In this lovely image of Irish Terrier Tony I used natural light on the stairs coming from a sky light. I think the soft light and the shadows work really nicely in this image and the small depth of field provides this image with a lot of atmosphere.
Most importantly, make sure you and your dog are having fun when you photograph your animal and it will show!