Unless you have studio lights lying around, your best bet is to photograph your pet using natural light. A flash will startle your dog or cat and will cause the demon red-eye effect. Instead, take your dog outside in your backyard on a sunny day where they will feel at ease in the familiar environment. If your backyard is fenced-in, you can keep your dog off the leash, freeing up your hands. Furthermore, dog portraits always look better without an attached leash since the line of the leash leads the eye outside the photo. Allow your dog to run around and sniff before you begin snapping so they can use up that extra energy. The perfect time to catch a great shot is when he or she is lying down in the grass, basking in the sunlight. Natural sunlight is the most flattering light source as it captures the rich hues and subtle tones of your pet’s fur.
Dogs move so quickly when they hear a sound or catch a whiff of something in the air that they often appear as a blur. Use your digital camera’s stop action setting to capture all of your pet’s movements. Sometimes the funniest and most candid shots are a result of snapping your camera successively in a row as your dog runs towards you, licks their nose, or yawns. No other camera setting can capture the unique expressions that occur during those simple movements. Even the human eye often misses the spaces between these fascinating moments because they occur too quickly.
Level With Them
Chances are, your pet is smaller than you when you stand. This forces you to look down at them and they must look up at you. This is a good way of highlighting their size but that’s probably not the look you are going for. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and squat down or even lay down flat on your stomach so that you are level with your pet. This low vantage point will allow you to get a great portrait since you can photograph their whole face, including their expressive eyes.
In order to get your dog to stay, it helps to entice them with a treat held to the side or just above the camera. Dogs look adorable when they tilt their heads to the side and raise their ears slightly. An easy way to achieve this look and to get your dog’s attention is to use a squeaky toy or ask a question in a high-pitched tone. The most fool-proof way to achieve great pet photography is to teach your dog simple training commands, specifically stay. With one simple word you can snap away and easily put your dog in different settings without having them squirm or move at the first distraction. To master this command, try our Manners Training program.