Pet Photography Tips
Lets face it, anyone who has ever tried to snap a pic of a hyper puppy or a spooked horse knows that taking pictures of animals is not simple! Of course we all want that amazing photo that shows their spunky personality and isn't just a furry blur.
There are definitely some tricks to getting the shot just right, but in all honesty patience is key!!
1. CLEANLINESS IS KEY!
Make sure your pooch, horse or family pet is squeaky clean. Nothing is harder than trying to clean up an animal in photoshop after the shoot. If you have a horse with a dark coat you can cover scars or missing fur patches (we all know it happens!) with some matching color shoe polish. Tame fly away hair with hairspray or baby oil.
Pick a location where your animal friend is relaxed. If you go to a new place and they are anxious or scared it will be a lot harder to get a good picture
Bring LOTS of treats. Something special that they don't always get to have. For horses I suggest nothing that they will slobber all over like carrots. Bring mints or sugar cubes.
Noises are a great way to get your animal to look at the camera. Even if its a quick look. You can download noise maker apps on your phone, or just put some pennies in an old pill bottle to shake.
Don't push it with time. An hour is about tops. That might even be pushing it for some young animals. Make sure to take LOTS of photos. It's sad to get home and view the photos on your computer only to realize that that perfect pose only had 2-3 shots and the animals eyes were closed or it blurred due to fast movement.
6. SHUTTER SPEED
Depending on your level of experience you might want to try different lenses. I love photographing people with my 50ml lens. It has a low aperture and makes for a lovely blurred back ground, but it can be difficult for the lens to focus on something that moves quickly. Also with animals you will be changing how close you are to them frequently so your depth of field will have to change all the time.
Lets face it, dogs look better when they are not panting in photos. This leads to
Hot animals are irritable. Horses swishing at flies or panting dogs are much harder to photograph. So grab your coat and head to a cool spot for your shoot. Aim for a sunny but chilly day. If you can't avoid heat then try putting your dog in a running air-conditioned car for breaks. For horse use LOTS of fly spray.
So in summary be patient! Take TONS of photos. And just remember you can always re-shoot if its just not going to work out for that animal on that day. Animals can tell when you get stressed out. If you are in a hurry and getting frustrated your subject will know! And in return they will become agitated and difficult to work with.
Most importantly have fun with it!