Wednesday, 22 April 2015

How To: Photograph Your Pet

I always get comments on my photography, especially my nature and animal portraits, I even get the odd request to do photography 'tip' posts.
Despite having an A Level, National Diploma and having worked both under another photographer in their studio as well as for myself as a freelance portrait and wedding photographer, I just don't feel that it's my place to teach (amongst all the other bloggers telling you how to take better blog photos) anyone how to take photos.

You'll probably think me contradictory of what I've just said with what the title of the post is, but I plan not to tell you how to use your camera with this 'how to', but how to get your animals to cooperate so that you can get great photo memories of them, whether you are using anything from a DSLR to a phone camera.


Lots of Light.
And I don't mean so that you can have white, bright, beauty product type of photos. Animals move a lot and so as to minimize motion blur light is needed. When using a DSLR this is when you'll have the shutter speed high and with point and shoots that auto adjust, having lots of light is how to get a sharp image.
Oh and try not to shoot with the sun/light source coming from behind your buddy unless you are aiming for a silhouette image.


Be the Distraction.
Try and take the photos in a place where there is nothing that will steal your pets attention and make them look/run away. Create a distraction by any means you can or alternatively have a helper do so for you. Baker responds well to noise. So once he is positioned where needed, I will back up and repeat stay (just as we would when training or playing), then when I am ready to take the shot, if he isn't looking I'll call 'Baker, Baker, Baker' in a high pitched voice or make a high pitch lalala noise. haha!
I may get silly looks but it works..most of the time! Though it may also cause them to run toward you - which helps in the long run to get those fantastic action shots but you must work quickly to focus them. This method, along with holding up a favorite toy as a focal point or jingling keys are tried and tested methods as well - just like we've done with kiddies in the studio!


Reward Your Model.
Of course once you get the model to do what they were meant to you should thank them. It doesn't always have to be in food or treat form, to be fair telling them they have done well and giving them the toy that was being used as distraction is good enough.
For us it now is usually just a 'good booyyyy' and lots of physical praise, seeing as he has grown up with a camera in his face and is quite the pro afterall.


Think Fast!
Do everything you need to do at light speed! If you are using manual settings make sure you have tested out your location and adjusted the settings accordingly, only getting your pet in position once you are 100% ready to press the button and snap the image.
If your device takes sequence shots you could utilize this option by taking many of the same shot and then upon looking back on them keeping the best of the bunch. To be fair...that's also useful with kiddies or groups of people to make sure all faces are looking in the direction they're meant to and there is no blinking!


Candid vs. Posed.
This is down to personal preference but my style of photography has always been more natural than making people and animals sit and pose, because lets be real how often are they in those posed positions? I'd rather capture things as they are and have those as memories of the true events.
In this case just let your pet play and snap along as they do. To catch them unawares (Bananas in Pajamas anyone?? lol) you could even call their name while they are playing and capture the shot just as they turn to look at you - it makes for some fab candid images.




There we have it, a few of the techniques and such that Baker and I use on a weekly basis to get great photos and document his life. I actually had quite the job narrowing down some photos to include as we take so many and in one folder alone had over 500...haha! You can never have to many memories eh?
I'd love to know your thoughts on this. Do you take regular portraits of  your pet? If so how do you get them to cooperate? And do they actually cooperate? lol
Remember this isn't 'professional photography' tips but just my personal experience and preference.
Hope you enjoyed!!


42 comments:

  1. Love,love all these pics of fab little Baker he just seems to be a natural in front of the camera (helps that his mummy is taking the photos )

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    1. He totally loves getting his photo taken like. Little dog model!

      xo

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  2. Your photography really is amazing!! How cute is Baker!? That photo of him as a puppy is adorable!

    Renee | Lose The Road

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    1. You, as always, are too kind! He is pretty cute isn't he? lol But of course I'm bias!

      xo

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  3. You are blooming brilliant!! As always these photos are just beautiful.
    And they are all fabulous tips. I'm just starting to get a bit better at snapping P and B, it's just so much fun capturing the perfect shot of them. I am a heavy advocate of the high pitched lalalala noise and teeny tiny cubes of cheese as a reward.
    M x

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    1. Ah stop! I'm not that great haha.
      I knew there must be another doggy Mama that would agree with the la-ing lol Oh and we can't even say the word cheese without this one going mental so that's deffo a no-no for us when taking photos!

      xo

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  4. This is just actually perfect!! You're both such an awesome little team and he's a natural for the camera! :)
    Jemma xx

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    1. Aw Jem, thank you!! He really is amazing like, he loves getting his photo taken.

      xo

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  5. You are such a brilliant photographer!
    And your doggy is so cute, and so well behaved! :)
    Sarah xx
    whimsicalmumblings.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. That means a lot, thank you.
      He really is fab haha but I have to say that :P

      xo

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  6. This is a brilliant post Danielle, you've got some amazing tips here and I will definitely be trying to put them into practice whenever I go out and take photos! You and Baker have such a lovely relationship and these photos are stunning, I love that one of him with his head popping up over that tall grass - gorgeous! - Tasha

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    1. Thanks so much! Haha That was a super candid one, as I just snapped away and he played in the fields.

      xo

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  7. I feel like I'm at a disadvantage with Pork Chop the hammy. He pretty much ignores all sounds, can't be trained and just turns his back to me or less photogenic, flashes his man balls.

    Although, I do want to get more photos, so I think I will have to set up the tripod and whack the ISO up (since he only comes out when we turn the lights half down) and go snap crazy until I get some good ones haha.

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    1. Yes, I should have titled this a little differently as the tips won't work for all species of pet I'm sure...oops!
      Urgh hamster genitalia is very prominent isn't it! I remember one of my little guys had the biggest ones I'd seen and waddled so much when he walked bless him lol!

      Hope you manage to get some good ones, literally just keep clicking for ages and you're bound to get at least one!

      xo

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  8. What gorgeous photos, Baker is very photogenic! I get Jack to sit and usually hold a treat behind the camera but if I take too long he starts getting impatient and tries to steal it :)

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    1. Thank you very much! Yes! Thats a good method too but another where you have to move fast haha. Could make for an interesting shot as they dive towards the camera though! :P

      xo

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  9. Oh Baker is SO cute! I'm pretty sure Lady avoids the camera on purpose haha, it's quite rare I get her to stay still long enough for a good photo, but I'll definitely try some of these tips. I agree that you can never have too many memories! xx

    www.cakeydreamer.co.uk

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    1. He is pretty canny isn't he? ;) I know all these photos make it look like it, but you really don't need them to stay still. I've done sets of pet portraits for other people and as long as its light, you're fast and have a good eye you can get some brilliant shots. Make sure to show me any good ones you get!

      xo

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  10. This is so helpful! I'm always trying to get pictures of Monty but whenever he notices a camera pointed in his direction he tends to start jumping around all excitedly haha :) some lovely pictures here, it must have been so hard to narrow it down! xx

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    1. Aw I'm glad you thought so! No matter how much a dog moves you can still manage to get good shots if you have patience and are fast! lol You should send me some of Monty!
      Thank you very much :) It really was. I wasn't lying when I said I have upwards of 500... o_0

      xo

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  11. These are fantastic photos! I'm pretty sure Baker is just a born model he's very posey :P

    hellomissjordan.blogspot.co.uk xx

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    1. Aw thanks Jordan. Indeed! He really has had a camera in his face since we got him pretty much. Well, after a few weeks at least - I really wish I'd taken more of him as a tiny guy.

      xo

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  12. You are one talented photographer young lady!!!! I love all of these photos of Baker, but especially the one of him trotting along in the water!! xxx

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    1. Oh you! Stop it! Thank you so much. I have so many of him in the water as he adores it but this was one of the newer ones hence choosing that one.

      xo

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  13. Oh my god, Baker is so gorgeous! Your photographs are so pretty off him, I wish I could take photo's of my dog like this but he can't sit still for 2 seconds!

    http://lsbyx.blogspot.co.uk/ x

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    1. Thank you very much! He is a cutie patootie eh? But of course I'm bias :P
      Seriously, give it a shot! Just be fast. I'm sure with a couple treats you could get him to sit great. If not just get photos of him playing!

      xo

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  14. Awh how cute! :) Love these tips - I'm always trying to get a good photo of Pepper, but being 6 months old she never sits still haha. Love your dog!! x

    http://thecornishlife.co.uk

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    1. Thank you very much! Oh start now with 'camera training' lol whatever that is... Baker sat from 8 weeks with enough encouragement (treats) haha. Pepper is such a beautiful name for a pup!!
      Thank you so much :)

      xo

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  15. Excellent photos Danielle, you're very professional and Baker looks like a fabulous model! I do love the one of him in the yellow straw/hay stuff :-) xx

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    1. Thank you very much! He is a very good model :P Now, are there any doggy modelling agencies?? :P

      xo

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  16. Oh wow gorgeous photos! I love pet photography! I even have a folder of photos of my guinea pigs hehe :) xo
    amber love

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    1. Thank you very much! Its my favorite thing to do for customers! Much prefer working with animals than children :P

      xo

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  17. This is such a different post. I like it, thank you for the tips. I think that everyone is secretly asking how so thank you for sharing! I know they'll come in handy.

    Shannon / Sixth Skyline x

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    1. Oh thank you! I like being different haha. I hope they are of use to you :)

      xo

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  18. Do I regularly photograph my pet? Hmmm...let me think...! I usually use a ball or a biscuit as a focus point if I want something more posed but natural is always better if you can get the shot in my opinion :) I daren't even count how many photo files I have of Stella!

    Great tips though and a post I'll share :) xox

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    1. Haha Yes, you are an absolute pro and pet photographing!!

      Thank you!! :D

      xo

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  19. My dog is impossible to take pictures of but she's so beautiful its almost criminal not to try and snap shots of her ALL THE TIME!! I'll try some of your tips next time as your photos are absolutely phenomenal! Must help that the subject is so damn adorable too haha!

    Teri-May xx
    Www.acupoft.co.uk

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    1. I always feel sad when someone puts up a post about a missing pet or one who has passed away but it's a terrible photos where you can barely see them. I think having 'professional' looking portraits of your pet is as important as of kids etc so it's why I take so many.
      I hope you have fun trying some of my tips!!
      Thank you so much :)

      xo

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  20. My cat has been used to the camera since it was a kitten so his a natural hahaa. Baker is a beautiful dog, you photograph beautifully. I'm a photographer as well! X

    Sally - DiagonSally

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    1. Aw! Get them trained up young ;) Thank you.

      xo

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  21. What lovely photos! 💖
    I'll have to try some of these tips out! x

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    1. Thank you! Oh do - and send me some photos ;)

      xo

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