Tips for taking better pet pics

With the holiday season fast approaching, we asked photographers, Erica and James Fernandes from Evocative Photography in Calgary and Lorena Smalley from Chewed Slippers Photography in Edmonton, to give us some tips on how to take great photos of our pets. Here is what they came up with:

  • Learn your camera. This sounds obvious but take the time to learn how to use your camera and any other equipment you wish to use. Knowing what buttons to press and when will go a long way to ensuring you “capture the moment” and create the best image possible.
  • Chewed Slippers Pet PhotographyMake eye contact. Some of the best shots are those where your pet is looking straight into the camera. To make that happen, hold a treat or toy in your hand to get their attention, then move it into position right behind the camera lens. Feel free to squeak, shake or rattle away to get them to look at what you’re holding. (If  you need two hands on the camera, get a friend to work the toy.)
  • Make it fun. Taking photos of your pets should be fun for both of you! Gather up some treats (for yourself as well) and special toys and give your pet lots of affection and praise. Your pet should equate the camera with fun and good things.
  • Chewed Slippers Pet PhotographyConsider dog level. Want a different look? Try changing up your position. Get down on the floor at dog level and see the world from their point of view. Let them come close to your camera as you snap shot after shot of them sniffing their way to model stardom!
  • Only shoot when everyone’s safe, comfortable and happy. Don’t pull out the camera if your pets or you are tired, cranky or feeling impatient. This will only create frustration for you and your pet and offer little chance at capturing a great photo.
  • Chewed Slippers Pet PhotographyRemove distractions. As you frame up your perfect shot, take a moment to look at the background. Ask yourself the question: “Does what I see in the background help or distract from the picture?” Then take a couple moments to remove any distractions from the picture or change your angle so background clutter is reduced or eliminated.
  • Work in short sessions. Pets usually have the attention span of a fruit fly so taking photos in short sessions (work up slowly from about five to 10 seconds per day to five to 15 minutes per week) will keep them entertained while you work on taking great photos. Don’t force your pet to do anything they don’t want to do.
  • Chewed Slippers Pet PhotographyPump up the cute. Ask yourself: “What is the one thing that makes my pet so cute?” Is it their adorable eyes, the way they cock their head to the side, those raggedy paws or their size. Once you answer that question, you’ll know exactly what to capture in your photo. Now you just have to be creative and figure out how to pump up the cute.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Sage advice but don’t practice taking photos of your pets unless you  make it fun for them and yourself.
  • Patience and more patience. Take your time, slow down the pace and have patience. Snap a couple shots off to make sure the picture will work as planned, then settle in and wait. Pets know when we are frustrated and hurried. When we slow down, they relax and feel free to give us their best moments.