Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Taking great photos of your pets!

Visiting some friends around the Internet we came across a great article that the folks at Good Bloggie posted about and just had to share it. They found a fabulous article from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on taking great pics of your pet! Check this out:

Good photos of pet require a patient hand.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/06/08

Now that you've finally figured out how to use that digital camera, it's time to move on to another challenge — taking photos of the family pet.

They tend to resist posing, they hate flashes, and they don't care whether you get a good shot. But that doesn't mean you should quit trying.

So to help out, we talked to two pet photographers, Atlanta's Jeannie Bartow Hartman and nationally known New York-based photographer Jim Dratfield, who is working on his 10th pet photography book. They've offered a number of tips on how to get a good photo of your pets.

Their ideas should get you snapping away. You'll end up with some great memories, and maybe even a prize to boot.

• Have someone else dangle a toy or treat just above the lens to get the pet's attention. It will look like the pet is looking directly into the camera.

• Get pets off the ground. Put them in an interesting chair, or on something like a table or window sill. That way, it will take them a few seconds longer to decide to jump down and run away, which can give you a chance at a shot.

• Use props. Dratfield has used ceramic pigs, furniture, urns, statues and even a giant topiary of a giraffe. Look for something interesting in your home that your pet can sit on or next to.

• Work where the animal is comfortable. Don't take him to a strange park for the shoot. Work at home, or outside where they know the area.

• Most pets hate flashes, so instead try to use natural light. But too much sun causes harsh shadows and squinting. Overcast days can work well. Or work in a shaded, but still well-lit area. Inside, work in sun rooms, near large windows and in well-lit rooms. Or move lights to where the pet has landed.

• Try a few shots in black and white. It has a great mystique to it, and is often more forgiving than color.

• If you want to tire out a high-energy dog for the shoot, do it early, then give him enough time to recover. Otherwise, all your shots will be of a dog with his tongue hanging out.

• For cats, unless you know they can be trusted, work in an enclosed room, so they can't run too far. Pick a place with a lot of light so you can shoot wherever kitty lands.

• Most dogs have something that will make them focus. Find it. A toy, a word ("walk" "treat"), a noise. But be ready to shoot as soon as you say it. After you've used it a few times, they'll catch on and stop responding.

• If all else fails, have someone the cat likes sit on a couch. Drape a large piece of paisley or some other pretty fabric over them, then put kitty on their lap. With any luck, he'll curl up for a happy snuggle. Now shoot close and you'll never know there was a living backdrop. This also works well with small dogs.

• If the animal hates cameras, get two other people to come in and pretend to shoot them too. Eventually, he'll have to turn in your direction and you can get a shot.

• If people are in the picture, have them wear a color that contrasts with your animal's fur. A black dog leaning against someone in black pants will just disappear.

• Want a cute expression? Make a strange noise. Many dogs will tilt their heads and cats will often appear inquisitive.

• Try shots at different levels. Get on the floor with them, stand on a chair or ladder and shoot down.

• Do close-ups. Don't stand too far away. Get detail. When shooting people with animals, try to keep their faces close.

• Take a lot of pictures. It's much easier now with digital cameras. A few are bound to turn out.

• Be patient. Expect pets to move, run away, refuse to look at you. If you yell or get tense, so will they. Make it fun, relaxed, and you'll get the best shots.


  1. thanks for sharing the tips..

    ms owner seldom manage to get a good shot of me...alwiz complains that i'm too black...

  2. This post is right up my alley. There is little I enjoy better than my pets and my camera.

  3. Hey! We really like your blog entry topic. It's just the sort of thing we'd write. :-)

  4. That's right Frenchie - we though your post was so great, we had to share it too. :)


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