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10 Tips For Photographing Pets

Monday, March 25, 2019

This evening, I went to another Canon workshop. This time, it was about shooting pets. Photographer Anabel DFlux shared ten tips for pet photography.

  • Make sure you have the right equipment. A camera can be either full frame or crop-sensor. Decide whether you want to use fixed or variable lens. Fixed lens tends to create sharper images with wider aperture. You cannot zoom. You need to physically move around. Variable lens involves zooming in and out. You cannot get a wide aperture. The aperture is as low as 2.8 only. Filters are placed on the lens for effects. ND is Neutral Density, which is used for very bright light areas. It will darken the front of the lens. A 1.2 filter is extremely wide. Knee pads are important for working with animals because you will do a lot of crawling on the ground, which is likely to create bruising and scraping on your knees. For indoor studio photography, a wide aperture is recommended. The wider the aperture, the more light will enter the camera, which is perfect for dark areas. Wide open aperture is perfect for style, low light, shallow depth of field, subject separation, and sharpness with fixed lens. When focusing with wide aperture, the focal plane is small. The farther away you are from the subject, the easier to get the subject in focus. AI Servo feature has to do with locking on to the subject and following the subject, without a need to refocus on each shot. Burst Mode has to do with taking multiple shots in a row while pressing down on the shutter. FPS is frames per second. Panning involves holding the camera and moving the camera across and around. A good photograph is all about the composition, whether portraits, group shots, or pets with people. When animals are posing with their owners, have the people sit down so to be on the same level with their pets. If the pet is small, have someone hold the small pet.

  • Always focus on the animal’s eyes.
  • Make sure the animal is comfortable with the setting and set-up. Play it with to let it relax, as well as let it wander around to get used to the area.
  • The more tired an animal is, the better it will cooperate, mostly because it is more likely to sit and lay down.
  • Be adaptable to changes, especially what is likely to happen next. Expect the unexpected because animals are unpredictable. Always be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Have some toys, treats, and noises for effects in order to get animals to react in a certain way. These items are perfect for communication and interaction with animals.
  • Do you need to use artificial lighting? Use continuous light for indoor settings. Don’t use a flash because it will scare animals. A softbox with lightbulb is also good.
  • Have patience because there is a lot of waiting around for that perfect shot or pose.
  • What if the owner or pet is stressed out? Take a break.
  • Be uniquely creative and think outside the box. Do something different, as well as do it in a different way from the norm.

I added three snapshots from Gumby’s 19th birthday photo shoot. The setting was on my messed up bed, in which he was already lounging on. He was already comfortable and relaxed, and maybe a little sleepy because I woke him up for a quick photo shoot.

A close-up headshot.

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Written by Fifi Leigh

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