Pet Photography

The art of pet photography

Pet photography book
We love our pets so it is not surprising that pet photography is a highly favoured subject of photography enthusiasts and amateur photographers alike. We in the UK are a nation of proud animal owners and every day thousands of us take snap shots of our family pets both large and small to show off on our mobile phones or online at social networking sites. Taking a good animal photograph though rather than just a snap shot can be a difficult thing to do. This is  especially true when it comes to displaying your pets personality. So here are a few pointers to help you turn those snap shots into great pet photos you can be proud of.

Natural and fun

Firstly, don't try to force your pet into posing. Like children, if they don;t want to do it then it will show through in the photograph. Be patient and take your time. It may take you many attempts but try to catch your pet in a natural pose or doing something that they enjoy doing such as playing ball. A happy pet makes a relaxed model.

Portraits and pet photography mode

If your lucky enough to have a camera that comes with pet Pet photography mode this is great for shooting pet portraits, try it out. Different camera manufacturers pet mades may vary slightly in how they work or what they do but as general rule this is what happens. The mode lets you capture the expressions of your pet cat or dog automatically. It does this by usually switching off automatic flash to avoid showing your pet in a harsh light, startling your pet and avoiding red eye. It tracks your pets movement and automatically fires the shutter at the moment your dog or cat's face is detected facing the camera and in focus. 
If you don't have pet mode on your camera try to take the portrait photo in a well lit place, preferably by natural sunlight, and switch off your cameras flash. Set your camera up on a tripod if you have one to avoid camera shake issues. Ensure that your pet is relaxed and get up close so as to ensure they will command a large area of your photo canvas. Concentrate your cameras focus on your pets face. Try if you can to make sure that your pets eyes are clear and in focus before you hit the shutter release button.    

Action shots

Duke at play

The Duke at play
If you want to catch your pet in action such as a dog chasing after a ball or jumping over a fence you'll need to freeze your pets motion by adjusting your cameras shutter speed. Do this by selecting shutter preference "S" on your function dial. Start with a shutter speed of around 1/500th of a second . You will probably need to adjust your aperture or ISO settings also as required to get the photos light exposure correct due to the fast shutter speed.
If you are not comfortable with adjusting your shutter speed you could always try setting your camera to "sports mode" via the mode dial. As the name suggests sports mode is meant for freezing the action of athletes and sportsmen and may also be able to freeze the motion of your pet.
Once you have captured your pet in a great action or portrait photo why not show it off by uploading the photo to our gallery ?