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.
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!!