If you own a pet, chances are you've taken a gazillion pictures of them doing cute stuff, shown your friends and even posted them on social media. While it's easy to snap a few pictures here and there, it's not always so easy to get that perfect shot. We thought we would put together a few simple tips to help you capture your pet's personality like a pro with your camera, if you have one or your handy phone!
Animals love being outside. The lighting will be better, plus I bet the fresh air will automatically bring a smile to your dog’s face. Try some shots in the backyard with the grass surrounding them or with the trees in the background, or if you know somewhere cool in your neighbourhood, go exploring or playing in the dog park. For the best results, try the afternoon or even on an overcast day or when the sun is low in the sky to avoid harsh shadows. If you have an indoor cat, try taking them out in the yard on a leash, who knows what chaos you might capture.
HAVE YOU HEARD OF PORTRAIT MODE?
If you were a professional photographer, let's be honest you probably wouldn’t be reading this - but also you will be using your fancy camera adjusting your settings to set a low f-stop. But the reality is most smart phones these days have the skills and the features to capture some amazing photographs. Ultimately you are looking to blur the background and make your subject, your pet - pop! Also, an out-out-focus background is useful for disguising stuff you may have in the background.
That’s where Portrait mode on the iPhone comes in, it uses two lenses to create a soft blurred background. Samsung and Google Pixel devices also have great depth-of-focus features too! Set your focal point on your pet’s best feature, it’s eyes or ears! Or use macro settings to experiment with ultra-tight portraits of your pet. Try some cool detailed shots like wet noses and vibrant cat eyes, these are fun alternatives to the typical pet photo. Don’t be afraid to get creative and play around with your settings.
USE NATURAL LIGHT
Don’t have the outdoors as an option? That’s okay, there are still great ways to snap pictures of your pet indoors too. Try making it ‘their idea’ by placing their comfy bed or favourite chew toy in a nice well-lit area or by a large window with sheer curtains that allow some light in but also soften it. Avoid the time of day when the bright sun is shining in to help capture a flattering image without harsh shadows. If you have a lamp inside, flick that on too to help create a warm and ambient space!
GO SOMEWHERE SCENIC
For a truly stunning photo, you could get adventurous and take your dog on an outing to a scenic location. An open field, mountainous hike, boat ride or beach trip at golden hour are perfect opportunities to snap a photo of your dog surrounded by beautiful nature. This will also give you the chance to capture their wild side outdoors - running, swimming, jumping, chasing after their favourite toy or snapping up a treat in mid-air.
GET DOWN ON THEIR LEVEL
Don’t be afraid to have fun and get down on your pet’s level to capture the perfect shot. Being at eye- level or rolling around on the floor may also make them feel more comfortable with the camera in their face and help bring out their playful personality. Brace yourself for face licks, and don’t forget to snap some selfies together to document where it all began, before they become insta-famous.
BRIBE THEM WITH FOOD + TOYS
Pets are expressive creatures and they're just as excited when they see you as they are when they see their food bowl or toy. Dangling a stuffed toy or feather mouse next camera works well for cheeky cats! Nobody wants to do a photoshoot hungry, so make sure you have plenty of treats on hand for your pup. To set yourself up for success, you could even play a game of fetch with their favourite toy or go for a walk or run beforehand. If you’ve got a friend or housemate around, recruit them to help get the perfect shot, it will be worth it.
I know it sounds cheesy, but staged photos of pets are undeniably cute, especially when there are hats involved. Who doesn’t love a cat wearing a Santa hat or a dog celebrating its birthday with a dog-friendly cupcake or bandana on? Don’t be afraid of props, who knows what you might create? Worst case you can take an adorable picture to use on a Christmas card for your friends and family this year.
Most importantly, have fun hanging out with your pet and if in doubt, post it to social media with a black and white filter! Lastly, remember when your pet photo goes viral on DogsofInstagram or Catsofinstagram make sure you give a special shout out to your pals at Good Dog Co. for the hot tips! Happy snapping ✌️