7 simple tips for getting better photos of your pet

If you're like me you will have hundreds of snaps of your pet looking cute, but they might be a bit blurry, or an ear might be cut off and they're not necessarily great photos to use for a portrait, or that you might like to get printed and framed. 

Since I create custom pet portrait paintings from photos I often get asked how to to get better photos of pets.

Here's 7 simple tips for getting better photos of your pet, whether you have a cat that likes to pretend you don't exist or a pup with way too much energy!

1. Get down to their level

It can be hard to get a great shot of your pet if you're standing right over them - so get down on their eye level. Just like photos of people, the most important thing is to get clearly focused on the eyes. The eyes really are the "windows to the soul" and where your pet's personality is expressed. 

Photo by Chung Nguyen on Unsplash

2. Work with your pet

Aim to take photos of your pet when and where they are most comfortable - think about your pet's favourite spots around your house. Avoid new environments where your pet is likely to be completely distracted by the new sights and smells.

3. Use natural light

Avoid harsh flash when taking photos of your pet as this is likely to wash out the colour of their fur or cause red-eye, and most likely scare your pet too! Instead, take photos on a sunny day in the shade or if you're inside aim to use the natural diffused light from a window. You're aiming for even light across important features like the eyes, nose and mouth.

Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

If you're going for a more artistic shot you can also use light for a shadowed effect like the photo below. Even your smartphone camera has some great settings for getting interesting shots like this. 

sydney-rae-422172-unsplash (1).jpg

4. Use their favourite treats or toys 

Pets are never going to patiently sit and stare at the camera while you take a photo, so you may need to trick them into looking in the right direction. Get them interested and sitting still for a few moments with their favourite toy or treat held near the camera - you may need someone to help with this. 

Photo by James Barker on Unsplash

5. Capture their personality and unique quirks

No one knows your pet the way you do, so a great picture is going to be one that conveys your pet's quirks and character. If you have a cat who thinks he's the ruler of the known universe like my cat Boris, then aim for photos when he's looking regal or smug (like the one below). If you pooch is super playful and a bit of a dag then take photos while (or after) you've been playing with him/her or with their favourite toy.

Boris portrait - Zoe Wood 2018

6. Be Patient

Photographing your pet can be difficult, but no matter how excited your furry friend is, if you keep at it you will end up with a great shot. You might need to try taking photos at different times of the day, like right after they have been napping or when they've been fed (i.e don't try to take photos when it's walk time!)

7. Experiment 

Make it a fun challenge to take interesting shots. Practice taking photos of your pet in different settings and from different angles or close up/far away so you can get an idea of what you like most. Sometimes the best photos are captured when your pet is completely unaware, so keep your camera handy to get awesome candid shots. 

Thanks for reading! 

xx Zoe

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