As an adoring pet parent, I have a need to constantly photograph every adorable pet moment. My smartphone isn't filled with selfies and sunsets but rather TONS of photos of my furbabies… a shiny coat after getting groomed, my cat laying on her bed, and then another picture of my cat on her bed because this time, her paws are crossed… I took some advice from a famous pet photographer, Grace Chone, and here are some of her tips on how to snap a pawesome pet photo....
Go towards the light!
Try to take the picture where you get the best light. Usually, this ends up being with your pet facing a window. This light is extra flattering because your pet ends up being evenly lit in the front, and the background can drop off into the darkness. Natural light is always preferable to artificial light. If your place is nice and bright, try to keep indoor lights off to avoid having a sickly yellow color-cast to your images.
If you ain't givin' me treats, I'm going to Grandma's.....
One of the most important things when taking photographs is to make sure your pet is getting a treat they like. For instance, dry dog biscuits are boring, so find something your dog likes even more than dog biscuits. Good options are dehydrated meat snacks or boiled chicken breast. Before you shoot, always reward positive behavior like sitting still or looking directly in the camera lens, and give small morsel rewards to keep them motivated and engaged. Treats are also good for controlling eyeline - hold the treat where you want your pet to be looking. Reward them after a few frames of shooting with a tasty bite, and lots of positive words
A new perspective
Get creative with taking pictures of your dog. Try to see the world from their perspective using different angles. For instance, have your dog lounge on a chair and take a picture from underneath, or lay down in the grass while your dog is on an elevated surface, and see what you can see. If you try to get different perspectives of your dog and tell their story from an unusual angle, you’ll end up with some interesting shots that can stand out!
Shoot fast and furious
Take lots and lots of photos. This way you can be sure to capture a photo that’s in focus and of your pet doing what you want. When you shoot lots of photos, you end up capturing some amazing moments that happen in just a fraction of a second.
Add an unusual flair to your photos using unique items. Fetch a set of props such as wigs, hats, and even heart-shaped helium balloons. If you’ve got a goofy side, you can get playful with sunglasses and other accessories. Select props that tell your pet's story. For example, if your dog likes swimming, place him in a baby pool wearing an inflatable water ring around his waist. If he is a couch potato, put the TV remote next to him and try to capture the moment. Have fun with it!
Stage it baby!
Staging can make your photos look polished and professional, so be sure to de-clutter the background and use props to add some flair. Bring in accessories like a sheepskin rug, fresh flowers, and even some pennant banners for a shot that looks stylish and finished. If you want to add a pop of color, coordinate it with an item in the photo, like your horse's halter, or pet collar.
At close range
Don’t forget to take detailed shots! Capture a shot of your pet's nose or the curves of its velvety ears. Take a photo of its paw pads, or the fur that covers its chin. Remember all the parts that make up your pet and document the special places you love to kiss or rub your fingers against. Even shots of its feeding bowls, collars, or leashes will someday be special memories.
Location, location, location
Anywhere that your pet is happiest and relaxed will be a perfect picture spot. It may be their favorite chair, riding shotgun in the car, or at a local park. Not only will they love to be there, but you’ll capture moments that memorialize them in a place that’s special to you both.
*To see some of Grace Chon's photography, you can go to gracechon.com*