Pet photography is its own photographic niche these days. It’s possibly photos of your furry friend for your Instagram feed. Or perhaps professional dog show pictures.
Knowing how to successfully photograph pets is a key skill. It’s also a great way to practice for better photography in general. Reads on for all the information you’ll need.
What is Pet Photography?
Photographing your pets, or any domesticated animal is pet photography. It requires a certain set of skills and patience to tackle.
Your pets are unpredictable and fast. This provides you with all of the subject matter you need to improve. But, it will test your skills as a photographer. Some photographers step away from this natural, candid state and opt for portraits. People are much easier to manage than an animal.
It is difficult enough trying to get a human to sit there and take direction while you snap away. What about one who loves to run fast, and long distances. Luckily, pets will do most things for a snack or treat. These might be your own pets, or, if you decide to try out pet photography as a business, pets that belong to another family. Our article will take you through everything you need to know, from camera recommendations to post-processing your images.
We will give you creative inspiration, show you what you need to look for and which lenses you and your pet photography will benefit from. If you are looking to turn this into a business, look no further. We have many articles on how you can turn your talent into a healthy profit. You will need time and patience.
Let’s show you how to turn your neigh shots into purrfect images.
How to Choose the Best Camera for Pet Portrait Photography
DSLR camera is a great tool to have. There is a wide range of lens types at your disposal.
How to Pick the Right Lens for Pet Photography
A zoom lens gives you the chance to photograph from close and afar. This lets you stay out of the scene, which is less distracting for your pets.
Choosing the Right Exposure Settings for Pet Photography
Exposure, put simply, is the amount of light that enters your camera and hits your sensor. This is controlled by the three things that make up the exposure triangle. ISO, shutter speed and aperture are the three components.
ISO 100 or 200. F/5,6 will give you the sharpest image. If you find that your shutter speed is around 1/250 or more, you are good to go.
How do you take those beautiful pet close-up portraits?
To take a close-up shot of your pet with a smooth, blurred background, set your camera to aperture priority mode and your lens to the widest aperture possible (lowest f-stop number). For a good lens that will be f/2.8, or for a really fast prime it might be as low as f/1.4; on a kit lens it will be f/3.5 usually. Next, get close to your subject, and have them be a few feet away from their background. (In general the further the subject is from the background, the blurrier it will be; the closer they are to the background, the more it’ll be in focus.) The wide aperture setting will take care of the rest. Be warned though, you could end up with eyes that are in focus and a blurry nose and head. Sometimes that looks pretty cool; it’s all up to how you want the picture to look. If you want your pet’s face to be more in focus, just close down your aperture a bit (go from f/2.8 to f/4, for example) or zoom out a bit. Extra distance between you and the subject will get more in focus.
How do you take photos of your pet in motion?
The trick to capturing pets in motion – like a dog in midair – is a fast shutter speed and a camera and lens that can hold focus on a moving subject. You need put camera into continuous focus mode instead of single-shot. This keeps the focus motor active the entire time, but you can also do it by holding down the shutter halfway. The second part of the equation is a fast shutter speed, which requires a lot of light to work properly. If you’re in midday sun you will be fine, but if it’s dark you will need to boost your ISO to compensate. As a general rule you can try switching to shutter speed priority mode and set your shutter speed to 1/500 or so as a starting point, and see how that looks. Going higher is okay as long as you have enough light. Ideally you’ll want the dog’s eyes in the shot, and it’s much easier to focus if they are going side-to-side instead of coming toward you. So get your shutter speed up.
Pets can provide a range of interesting photographs from cute to dramatic.
Use toys and treats to reward them if they are behaving well and let them leave if they are bored of having their photograph taken. Feeding an animal first is always a good idea if shooting portraits as it leaves them relaxed. If your pet is going outside make sure you have another person helping in case they break free.
Take many shots, and among them could be that perfect photo.