Pet photography: Best tips to take the best photos of your four legged-friend
Pictures are a great way of preserving beautiful memories. So how can you get the best pictures of your dog? Follow these simple rules and you'll be the best photographer your dog can get!
Dogs are both the most popular pets and our most loyal companions. For this reason alone, they should always have a permanent place in our photo memories. Do you want to know how to take the best photos of your four-legged friend? Here are a few tips & tricks.
Choose the right camera
Since camera technology is improving rapidly, it’s easier than ever to catch a great moment and get a good picture. Thanks to modern digital cameras with multiple programs, various features, and digital technology, it is possible to shoot high-quality photos of your pup – and as many as you like!
There are so many different types of cameras, all with different quality levels. The so-called Consumer Camera is a basic compact, small–format camera mainly used by hobby photographers. The Prosumer Camera is closely connected to the previous model, but has a slightly higher quality, especially in regard to settings & functions. The semi-professional SLR cameras, as well as the pro-SLR cameras, have the best features, offer the highest photo quality and various camera settings, as well as interchangeable lenses. So, if you want to take the best photos of your pet, using professional equipment for a high-quality result, you should definitely use an SLR camera.
Creating the best perspectives
Animal photos are most effective if they create an intimate connection between the topic and the viewer. The best way to do this is to take your photo at your pet’s eye level. This way, your photo can create the illusion of sharing a moment inside the world of your pet, rather than from the outside looking in. Shooting a photo below your pet’s eye level also makes beautiful animal portraits.
Pictures taken from above – also called bird’s eye view – often makes the animal look small and helpless. The head appears larger than normal and, all in all, the proportion of the body looks a bit funny. Therefore, simply go down on your knees or place yourself in the grass to get a great shot … It’s definitely worth it!
Equipment and settings
How to choose the right equipment? Here are a few tips:
- It is very important that you use a fast shutter speed. This will let you capture the moment before it escapes you – suitable for a pet in movement.
- For pictures in motion, the camera should have a fast auto focus. When you want to take a picture of your pet, you have to consider the focal length as well.
- A large focal length will contribute to camera shake and unless you have in-camera image stabilization, you should consider your shutter speed depending on the focal length. For longer focal lengths, you will probably need faster shutter speeds. The best would be to keep the focal length between 80 mm and 200 mm.
- If the focal length is longer, a tripod should be used, as it is difficult to keep the camera completely still for several seconds. You can also place your camera on the ground or on a table.
- If you want to take a picture of your four-legged while running or playing, you should use a really fast shutter speed of at least 1/500 sec, or even better 1/1000 sec. Changing the ISO setting on your camera changes the sensitivity to light of the image sensor inside of it. As a general rule, you should choose the lowest ISO possible for smooth and grain-free shots. when you increase the ISO you’ll notice that the ‘noise’ or ‘grain’ in your shots also begins to increase.
- Last but not least, if your surroundings are a bit darker, it’s better to experiment with the shutter speed.
Choose the perfect lighting for your photos
Paying more attention to light is perhaps the single most important step you can take to improve your photography, and it is highly important when it comes to wildlife photo shootings. You should, therefore, always pay attention to the weather, the time of the day, the position of the sun and other reflections. The harsh rays of the sun can work against your photos, especially when coupled with the reflection of water, sand or snow. In such circumstances, your photos might come out looking less than perfect—contrasts might be too harsh, colors might appear washed-out and overall, your pictures might seem overexposed.
As a general rule you should never take a photo against the light, but always with the light – with the sun in the back.
The best light conditions in the summer are early morning or late evening – shortly after sunrise or just before sunset. In the spring and fall, when the sun doesn’t climb very high in the sky, you’ll find good light during more of the day. Of course, it still depends on the weather. Winter also offers a beautiful time of the year for photography, particularly landscapes, portraits and wildlife. However, be aware of snow! While it looks beautiful, crisp, and white to the human eye, your camera doesn’t always see it in the same way. It often happens that snow in a photograph can have a blue tint to it or look grayed out.
Am I allowed to photograph my dog with a flash?
In the era of Instagram & Co, we want to share the beauty of our pets with the world. Truth is: a good flash will make your pictures more clear. But camera flashes also have a big disadvantage: many people are sensitive to the unnatural stimulation of nerves and flashes can also be perceived as painful. Dogs and cats have similar reactions to flashes.
Avoid using too much flash when photographing your pet, since their eyes are even more light-sensitive than human eyes.
A great tip for getting good pictures with less use of the flash is to find a very bright spot for your photo session. Keep in mind the consequences of using the flash for your dog:
- agitated behavior
- raised risk of an epileptic accident
The best tips on how to make your dog love the camera
Turn your dog into a photography star with these 5 tips:
- Equip yourself with lots of patience: Give your dog time to get used to the new setting. He’s not human and cannot understand in words what you intend to do.
- Get help: Get a friend who can distract your dog, since dogs react well to distractions.
- Reward your dog: Doggie snacks are a great way to reward your furry friend for his good behavior. They will keep your dog’s attention and help him to stand still longer.
- Be a good observer: Just like humans, all dogs are different. Some dogs are more relaxed, while others simply can’t stand still. Treat your dog with patience and act according to his own type of behavior.
- Don’t forget to have fun: create a fun environment for your dog, where he also feel comfortable and entertained. Should your dog feel agitated, you will notice this in the pictures as well.
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