6 Ways to Improve Your Pet Photography

Oscar at the Park

If you've ever perused my Flickr photostream, you know that I love taking pictures of my cat (as well as other people's cats and dogs).  It takes some practice to become adept at capturing our often fast-moving furry friends.  Here are some tips to help you improve your pet photography.

Get Down Low
You've probably heard this one before, but it's worth mentioning again.  Getting down to eye level with your pet will make the composition of your photo much more pleasing, and differentiate it from a simple snapshot.
Catch of the Day

Get Up High
So I just got done saying you should get down low, but sometimes you can get an interesting shot from directly overhead.  I guess that stands to prove that rules were made to be broken!  I often find standing on a chair and looking down gives an interesting perspective.

Catch That String!

Use a Fast Lens
A lens with a maximum aperture of f/2 or faster is ideal for freezing the action while your pet is running or playing.  This also gives you a pleasing shallow depth of field.  Alternatively (or in addition to the fast lens), you can use a flash.  I have a small external flash that I typically bounce off the ceiling.  It depends on your personal preference whether or not you'll like the look of a flash.


Don't just focus on the face!
While most of the shots you take of your pet will probably be of his or her face, don't forget that there can be creative shots that focus just on the paws, just on a toy with the pet in the background, and other non-traditional focal points.

Is It Safe To Come Out Now?

Go wide for an exaggerated effect
Wide angle lenses aren't commonly used for close-up portraits, as they exaggerated a person's facial features in a way that is usually unflattering.  With animals, however, the exaggerated features can look humorous and create a unique shot.

Look Out My Window

Include some environment in the shot
Step back and ask yourself if the space around your pet would help make your photo more interesting.  I think the shot above would have been much less interesting if I had just focused on Casey's face.


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