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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.

4 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing the tips..

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  3. Frenchie Maintenance SupervisorTuesday, January 29, 2008 6:48:00 PM

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

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

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for barking in!

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