A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Many people will be pulling out their cameras as the holidays approach to capture images of loved ones, and for animal lovers, that includes their pets. Our pets are often not quite as enthusiastic about having their picture taken as we are about taking it though. So how can you capture that perfect pet portrait? Here are some tips that might help.

  •  Photograph your pet in an environment they’re already comfortable in, such as your home, backyard or a park you visit often. Your pet will be more likely to look “natural” in a setting he’s already   comfortable in.
  •  Fast shutter speeds on your camera can help with taking shots of a pet that dosen’t like to hold still. If you can, try and use natural lighting to avoid a “red eye” effect in your photos. An alternative      would be cameras that have red eye reduction built in.
  • Basic training. Teaching your pet to sit and stay ahead of time can make getting a good photograph much easier. Even cats can be taught to sit and stay.
  • Toys and treats. For many dogs, a good squeaker toy can get their immediate attention when you want them to look towards the camera. Treats can serve the  same  purpose. For cats, feathers on the end of a string or wand can work well to get them looking in the direction you want them to.
  • Exercise. If you have an active pet, especially a dog, a nice long walk or run before the photo shoot can make it easier for your dog to relax and hold still.
  • Keep your camera ready. Sometimes it’s easier to catch a moment than try and make one happen. Having your camera setting out and charged will make catching the  picture of your cat lying in a cute pose on the couch much easier.
  • Take lots of shots. It’s not unusual to have to take dozens of images to get those couple wonderful ones you were looking for.
  • Get down on their level. Portrait type shots will often look better if you’re down at eye level with your pet instead of standing over them.
  • Background. Make sure you’re aware of what will be in the background of your photo. It’s easy to focus on the pet when you’re taking the shots, only to realize that the background clashes or distracts from your pet.
  • Also consider having someone photograph you with your pet to create a lasting image of you and your best buddy together.
  • Last, but certainly not least, is lots and lots of patience.

Photographing your pets can be challenging, but it can also be fun. With some pre-planning, patience and a little luck you can create images that you’ll enjoy for a lifetime.

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