We had a recent new addition to our household – a rescued, 1 year old labrador/pointer cross – and that got me thinking about pet photography in general.
What sort of considerations are there when snapping your pooches, moggies and other assorted furry creatures?
You’ll need to think about shutter speed for sure – and that depends on the pet! A dog running around like a lunatic in a field, or a tortoise – you see where I’m coming from. There’s also the scale to consider – are we talking hamster or great dane – that’ll influence your lens choice and your positioning in relation to the subject.
You’ll have to think about composition – do you want the animal isolated or should you include some of their environment? Should they be portrayed as active or posing? Some little treats can come in handy here, as well as an extra pair of hands or two. Try and get down to their level, so your eyes are roughly level with theirs – this will result in a much more pleasing end result.
If you’ve got the kind of pet that just won’t sit still once you get the camera out, try setting everything up before they get even the first hint of what’s coming – you might have to “grab” a shot, rather than set it up.
In our Getting Started course, we look at how to isolate subjects through the use of depth of field, by understanding the effect of aperture and the distance from you, the photographer, to the subject – your pet. We also look at shutter speeds, and what you need to get the shot you want, as well as lens choice.
Sometimes you just can’t get the shot you want, so maybe a little use of “Photoshop” might be in order. Take our new addition below for example. We’d only had her about 4 days when I took this, too early to let her off the lead. So I had to take the shot with her running on a long lead, and then clone out the lead in Photoshop later – plus a few other adjustments.