Photographing Pets

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How to successfully photograph your pet

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The following two articles “How To Successfully Photograph Your Pet” and “Pet Photography 101” should help you when trying to get the “just right” photo of your cat or dog.

How To Successfully Photograph Your Pet By : Fiona Cowieson

As a professional pet photographer one thing I am always get asked is how to take good photographs. OK, you may not have a f1000 lens and camera combination – but you can get good pictures with a compact camera. It’s all about the composition. If you follow the rules below you will be able to create great pictures.

Note: I’ve written this for dogs – but it applies to any pet (or animal).

The rules

1. Get to eye level

There’s nothing worse than lots of pictures of the top a dogs head. While we may see our pets mostly from this vantage they definitely look better from lower down. Get low to take your pictures, you may need to lie down but the pictures will be much better.

2. Get the right perspective

Do you have lots of pictures where your dog has a huge nose and a tiny bum? This is due to the focal length of the shot. Zooming in doesn’t just change how much is in the frame it also changes the size of close objects compared to far ones. So it is much better to shoot your pet across the room zoomed in than right up to his face zoomed out. Unless you are going for the wacky look of course.

3. It’s all in the eyes

As well as being at eye level make sure the eyes are in focus and can be seen. The eyes are the most important part of any animal shot. Other bits can be out of focus – but not the eyes.

4. Co-ordinate

Try not to shoot a beige dog on a beige background. He’ll get lost. Dark backgrounds for light dogs and light backgrounds for dark dogs give a photo impact.

5. De-clutter

The dog should be the main subject so try not to have too much in the background. A grassy field is ideal – a busy paisley patterned carpet is not! The background is still part of the photo so don’t forget about it.

6. Space to move

Photos are a moment captured in time. Your brain fills in what will be happening in the next few moments. If your dog is moving or looking to the right you need more space to that side. Basically it’s the space that the animal would occupy in the next few seconds and gives the photograph balance.

7. Fill the frame

There is nothing worse than a tiny dog in a huge photo. Get in close and personal.

8. Make the crop deliberate

If you cut out part of your pet make it look deliberate. So if you crop then crop close – ie head and shoulders. Try not to make it look as if you accidentally cut the feet out of the photo. If you do have the feet in the photo make sure you have some space below them as well to ground the photo.

So that’s it – hopefully you should be producing stunning photographs in no time – let me know how you get on

Fiona Cowieson
Edinburgh Pet Photography

Author Resource:- Fiona Cowieson Photography – Pet Photography in Edinburgh


Pet Photography 101 – How to Photograph Your Pet Like a Professional
By : Sophia O’Brien

Being that I photograph pets (and only pets – no humans) for a living I am always being asked by people how they can get their pets pictures to look better. Although, there is no simple answer to this question, there are a few things you can do which, I believe, will greatly improve your results and maybe even get you that “one in a million” shot! In a nutshell, here are a few tips I would highly recommend:

1: PATIENCE, PATIENCE and More PATIENCE. If you grab a camera, run over to your dog or cat and immediately expect him to strike a supermodel pose, you are setting yourself up for a big disappointment. Just by having the camera out, staring at them, calling their name, and waving treats around you have excited them and lost all spontaneity. It is better to keep the camera with you, sit down and wait. Your pet will eventually clam down and get back to the natural state he was in that you thought was so cute it made you run and get the camera. Then you can, slowly, raise the camera and take a shot with no big fanfare. They never expect it.

2: NO TREATS. This is the biggest mistake most people make. They think if they hold up a few treats, their pet will automatically strike a pose for the reward. If you want to take a picture of your pet staring straight up and drooling, then use treats. If you would like something more natural, leave them alone. I only use treats as a very last resort and then very sparingly.

3: NO FLASH. Unless you have an off-camera flash try not to use the flash. If your flash is on-camera (or built in) you will probably be getting red eye (if you use the red eye reduction feature on your camera you will probably be getting a little less red eye) and the light created from a straight on flash is very unnatural, making your pictures look flat. Since this will make it very difficult to take pictures in low light conditions you will need to make sure you are in the right environment. Try going outside on a nice day and taking shots in your backyard. Do not do this in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is very high and harsh. The best time is the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low. The light will be very soft and flattering and you will be amazed at the difference it makes in your photo.

4: STOP WITH THE MEGA PIXELS. I shoot all digital. The first question most people ask me is “how many mega pixels is your camera?” Many people think that more mega pixels, translates into a better picture. More mega pixels will just allow you to print your image larger. If you are taking bad photos, go out and buy an expensive camera with 8 or 9 mega pixels and expect your photos to look better, you will, again, be very disappointed. You will still take bad pictures but you will now be able to blow those bad pictures up bigger! Most people will not print their photos at more than 5 x 7 size. For this size picture a 3 mega pixel camera is fine. With 4 mega pixels, you can print your favorite shots as an 8 x 10. Unless you are going to print photos larger than an 8 x 10, taking photos greater than 4 mega pixels is a waste and will just use up your memory.

5: SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT. Lastly, take a lot of pictures. If you do not have a digital camera yet, think about getting one. Take tons of pictures, delete the ones you do not like and take tons more. For every good “keeper” picture I get I take probably 20 “stinkers”. The ratio stinks but if you take a million pictures, you will get a ton of great shots. Print the good images, show them off and people will think you are actually a good photographer…That is what I do!

Author Resource:– Vincent Strangio is a Pittsburgh, PA based professional pet photographer. His photography is featured on a dog and cat greeting card line sold in stores throughout the United States as well as on 5 different dog breed t shirt , sweatshirt and throw pillow lines sold exclusively through his online store. To date, he has sold over 10,000 shirts bearing his images. Please visit him at:

These articles are presented through the courtesy of Animal Pets and Friends