One dirty dog!

Say Cheese! Taking Great Pet Photos

When it comes to cute photos, it’s hard to beat snapshots of our furry (or feathered) friends. Taking the time to photograph your pet is important! A newly adopted pet or new puppy will change in time, and you want to preserve those first memories. Photos of your senior pet will one day be cherished. Children also love to share photos of their pet with friends, and having some fun ‘home studio’ shots will be very entertaining.

Here are a few tips to help you set up your own superstar photo shoot at home or in the park. After all, every pet deserves to feel like a star!

Be prepared. Most pets don’t want to sit for the camera for long periods of time. Having everything set up and ready before bringing your pet to the photo shoot area will help.

Your attention, please! Even the most charming pet will not pout, lift their chin or give you a sultry look on command. However, using their name – or waving their favorite toy – will almost always work. Have some on hand before you start. Having a second person ‘on the set’ to guide your pet and move props will help as well.

Work it! Great pet photos take work. Don’t use just one angle – get down on your stomach, at eye level with your pet while they are laying. Stand on a ladder and point the camera down, with your pet looking up at you. You’ll be amazed how different your shots turn out just by changing your position! Also, be aware that you’ll likely have to shoot dozens of photos to get a few fabulous shots. Have fun with it!

Think about background. Try to choose a background that makes your pet ‘pop’, or stand out. Contrasts are great for this. If you have a white or light colored pet, use a dark background and vice-versa. Lush green grass or other natural backgrounds work well for pets of all colors.

Go for sophistication. Take your pet’s collar off for photos. Collars can often be distracting in pet photos, and look much more polished without them.

Whistle while you work. Buy an inexpensive whistle. When you’re ready to shoot, blow the whistle and your pet will look at you with ears perked and eyes open, which is the perfect look for photos.

Lights, camera, action! Always opt for natural lighting when possible. A room with a lot of natural light and windows is best. This will help you avoid the dreaded green eye problem. This is the same as red eye in humans – when flash reflects off of the back of the eye in dogs with dark eyes, they appear green in photos. Blue-eyed breeds can actually show red eye in photos!

No red- or green-eyed beasts! If you must use a flash when shooting try to control the flash as much as possible. If you have a separate flash, move it as far away from the lens as possible. If you cannot remove your flash, simply tape a small piece of cheesecloth over your flash. This will diffuse the light and reduce the chance you’ll end up with photos of a red- or green-eyed beast!

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