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5 Helpful Pet Photography Tips

Answers by CanvasPop is a weekly blog series featuring responses to your printing, photography, décor or art questions. Check back each week for more content! Have a question? Let us know at answers@canvaspop.com.

A pet is just like a member of the family, so it’s no wonder we see pet portraits a plenty going out our doors as photo to canvas prints. Some of the photos we see are truly unique, and wind up being an incredible piece of art for the home. So we wanted to share some tips, on how you can capture that perfect pet photo of your own.

CAPTURE THEIR CHARACTER
Your pet has their own unique personality, so make sure you are able to play this up when capturing your photo. This is something that will allow your image to stand out from the rest, and will make it that much more meaningful and fun. If your pet is playful, snap a shot of them playing with their favorite toy. Lazy? Capture them mid-yawn, or stretching out on the floor. Most importantly, try and have fun with it!

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Choose the location that you snap your pet portraits in wisely. Make sure it is a spot that your pet will be comfortable in, as this will make things much easier on both of you. Perhaps find a favorite spot of theirs, like a park or beach. Pay special attention to what the background of the photograph will look like, as you don’t want it to be too distracting.

GET UP CLOSE
In most cases your pet will be much tinier than you, so keep this in mind when you are framing your shot. You don’t want them getting lost in the shuffle if you take the photo from too far away, or from up above. Get down to their eye level for best results so that you can capture a glimpse of things from their perspective. You may need to attempt this a few times, especially if you have a particularly active pet. Experiment with a few macro shots as well when you’re down there, as this can make for an interesting photograph.

An additional tip from the helpful people at the Digital Photography School: “If you can’t physically get close to your pet get your camera equipped with a zoom lens. The added benefit of a long focal length is that it will help with isolating your pet in terms of depth of field (ie give you a nice blurry background so that your pet is center of attention with no distractions).

LIGHTING
Lighting is obviously an incredibly important component when it comes to any type of photo. The most important thing to remember, is lay off the flash! Not only can this frighten your pet away, but it can also cause what we call “flash eye” which is almost impossible to remove after the fact. In this case, natural light will work the best so try moving outside or take your photos near a well lit window during the day. If your pet is white in color, be careful with direct sunlight as this does increase the risk of your photo being overexposed.

USE A FAST SHUTTER SPEED
The biggest challenge with pet photography will be trying to get your subject to stay still, which can be almost impossible sometimes. Switch your camera over to shutter priority mode, and start trying to get an action shot instead. These can sometimes turn into the most creative kinds of portraits. You’ll need to play around with a faster shutter speed, or alternatively you can switch over to “sports” mode.

Photo credit: Matt Eaton