How to take the best photos of your pet

Dogs are some of the most popular pets and our most loyal companions. For this...

Dogs are some of 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 a different quality levels. The so-called Consumer Camera is a basic compact, smallformat 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, with professional equipment and high quality, you should definitely use an SLR.

Equipment and settings

Firstly, 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. Additionally, for pictures in motion, the camera should have a fast autofocus. 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.  If your surroundings are a bit darker, it’s better to play a little 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 poses 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.

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!

This article is written by

Photos: © Radeberger Bilderrahmen GmbH

Show us your best pet pictures on Tractive Photos!

Now that you know how to take great photographs of your four-legged friend, please show us the best ones on Tractive Photos! Just download the app and share your photos with other animal lovers. Scroll through thousands of cute pet photos for inspiration …. or simply just for fun. Get started!

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