Pet Photography Tips.
Love photographing your pet but they always seem to run from the camera? Here’s some top tips to get them posing perfectly.
Before you even get out the camera make sure you are set up to “work with your pet”, and no I don’t mean training here, I mean give your pet a reason to smile, have gear ready to bribe them to pose. Bring out the big guns, what does your feisty feline, dainty dog or rascally rodent love most? Have a selection of toys, treats and all round goodies handy, you never know which ones will and won’t work on any given day.
Does your pet love to be brushed, is there a favourite bed or hidey hole you can use to your advantage, how about cat nip spray or a fragrance that really gets them relaxed and posing? I have had two dogs that love lip balm, one was so bad I had to stop using it as he would spend all his energy trying to get it off my lips, and stole more tubes than I care to admit. Think outside the box, what do they go crazy for that you could use to your advantage?
Once you know your pets kryptonite you can use this to get your pet excited and have them associate you clicking away with the camera with a wonderful experience rather than loathing that pesky big eye staring at them. Remember, pets don’t like being stared at and many find the camera lens imposing, we need to give them a reason to not turn away.
You can even look at having a special photoshoot reward for your pet, a brushout to look and feel great, a toy given only at this time, a new box for a cat or rodent, a tasty bone for our canine, something like this that means they see the camera and something good is always going to happen. But if you want to use this then consistency is the key, your pet must have it EVERY time, not just when you think about it. For those spontaneous photo sessions I would recommend always having a spare reward hidden that you can grab when needed to keep the routine of photos = reward happening every time.
It is also a good idea, especially while getting used to the routine, to have a human helper with you, someone that can toss a treat, squeak a toy, spray a mist, anything to get your pet looking where and when you want them too. Try to make the photo session fun for your pet, boring sessions will have them yawning and nodding off in no time, frustrating sessions will have them leaving the room faster than you can say “I bought a ….”
You also need to be prepared to get in some awkward positions to get the really great shots, get down on your belly, lean over furniture, whatever will get the camera in the right position without you having to get the animal to move. Remember, the more you make them move the less likely they are to stay still when you need them too.
For those of you that aren’t exactly camera savvy the best setting to have your camera set to is sports mode with multiple shot setting, and auto focus. This way you can get crisp photos even if your pet moves without having to constantly adjust the settings.
Also if you have the higher quality memory cards they will be able to process faster shooting and take a larger number of shots before they need to stop. Slower memory cards will have a very limited number of shots in the multi-shot mode before they need to “think”. I recently changed my memory card for action shots of the sleddogs and went from being able to take 5 shots before the camera needed to think to getting 80 shots before the shot speed began to slow down. A massive difference and enabled me to get better series shots of the dogs taking off at the start line, and seeing some spectacular finishes with teams desperately trying to overtake before they cross that finish line. No more needing to time my first shot perfectly to get in the 5 shots either while the teams were too far away or before they passed me by completely.
There are so many quirky pictures you can take of your pets, and so many locations that can look truly amazing that sometimes it is best to just play around and see what will work best for your pet and your camera skills. Sometimes the point and shoot cameras are the way to go with animals as they tend to be spontaneous and very quick, other times you may wish to set up a particular scene and need to know more about using a DSLR than the old point and pray method but no matter what camera you own you will always be able to get photos you can treasure and memories that will bring a smile to your face for years to come.