How to Take Great Pet Photos
Meet Minnie the Minx the Tabby Cat - my model to help you take fantastic pet photos to share with your friends.
|Minnie the Tabby Cat|
I've included my top 5 tips on how to improve your photos. Everyone who has pets loves them to pieces and usually takes loads of pictures - here is how to make 'okay' photos into great photos, good enough to make you own calendar and cards. The very best advise to give you is to spend time with your pets, watch how they move, where they like to play, to sit and so on. Oh and take a lots and lots of photos - after all with digital cameras you can delete the ones you don't like. Also, if you take more than one shot at the same time, you will be more likely to capture that one moment that is just right. And, if you haven't quite got one in focus, or if you have some camera shake, the next one will probably be better.
A note about the photographs
All the images featured here are by the author of this page, AnnMackieMiller, and are copyright dated 2011. Please do not copy or reproduce them in any way. The images are for sale for use on blogs and website for a small fee. They may NOT be used on cards or photo gifts.
My favourite Minnie Picture
The cat and the daffodils
This photo, as with so many of my ones of Minnie was taken on a Thursday which is my day to baby sit my friends cat and dogs. This one was shot in their conservatory which gives wonderful light situations. You do have to be a bit careful with these shots because the bright light can 'burn out' the highlights, in other words make them too bright.
To cut down on some of the light coming in from the window I put the red cushion on the window-sill behind the pot of daffodils. After that all I had to do was wait for Minnie to investigate. This was my favourite picture of about 100 I took that day but that is the joy of digital photography - you can just delete the ones you don't like. I've used this image on notecards and it is a great favourite for Easter.
What NOT to do when taking a pet photo!
Tip 1 for better pet photos
1. Use natural light
Where ever possible use natural light. You also have to be careful of using flash photography with animals because it fluoresce’s their eyes so they just look positively spooky - as you can see! I suppose it has an effect of its own.
Also remember to be careful when photographing white dogs and cats, because if the light is too bright, it will ‘burn out’ patches, that is create areas of highlights which effectively have no pixels. One thing even Photoshop can’t rescue you from.
Cat pictures: Minnie in the garden
Photographing the cat in the garden
Minnie is a joy when you are in the garden. She loves the company and will 'hunt' you through the bushes, roll and play and generally let you know who owns the place. I think my two favourites of her in the garden are the one you see in the introduction, where she is posing under a bush and the one with her strutting her stuff on the garden wall as I stand below her. As a general rule of thumb, taking good pet pictures involves getting down (or up) to their level, but sometimes it pays to break the rules. Besides, that picture looking up at her shows off her beautiful black pads.
How to take great photos tip 2
Get down to their level
Where possible get down to the same level as your pet – looking down on them seldom gets a great photo although there are exceptions. You might end up squatting in some funny angles or grovelling on the floor or ground, but it is worth it.
Of course there are always exceptions and you can see some on this page - Minnie looking up or those taken with me below her on another path.
Cat Pictures: Minnie the tabby cat indoors
Pictures of the cat indoors
As a photographer's model, Minnie is equally at home with indoor shoots! In fact she will pose nicely, turning her head this way and that, looking up and staring at - nothing - just like a human model told to do these things. She also loves to play with a crunched up ball of paper on the wood floor which makes for some great shots. It does mean getting down on the floor too but the results are worth it. You do have to be a bit careful about lighting and flash photography doesn't always work well with cats because it fluoresces their eyes so they just look plain scary.
I use a lot of my photographs on cards and photo gifts in Zazzle and you can find the link to my stores in the introduction photograph. Thank you for visiting and be sure to vote me up if you have enjoyed your stay and share the page with your friends. Cheers.
Cat in Motion
Tip 3: Get the action shot
3. Get the action shot
Some of the best shots you can get are animals in motion. Set yourself up with a tripod to keep the camera steady and set it to MOTION OR SPORT. If you are using a DSLR you will need to set in on a fast shutter speed. One good way to get a great shot is to call them to you once you are set up and keep shooting as they get closer and closer.
This one ALMOST works. The rest as she came closer ran foul of the over-bright light on her back which burned out patches. This one is a bit too busy in the background but it gives you the idea.
Cat on a fence
Cat on a fence
Tip 4: Framing, composition and the rule of thirds
You can get some stunning pictures if you pay attention to what is around your pet. The picture of Minnie in the introduction for example, she is perfectly framed by the bushes above and to the side of her.
In both that one and this, she sits on one of the ‘thirds’ in the picture - she isn't quite in the centre of the picture. According to the rule of thirds, a picture is aesthetically pleasing when the main subject in not dead centre. Imagine you have a grid divided the image into nine blocks. Where the lines cross each other is a point on a third.
Tip 5: Break the Rules!
Sometimes being above or below your subject just works. Be prepared to experiment. In the second photo of MInnie in the garden she is above me and there is a lot of clutter in the background but I think it still works.
Sometimes the best photos come when you through out the rule book and go with the flow. The thing about animals is they can't be directed - so just keep shooting!