If you know me or follow my photography, you know how I love to photograph pets. I find them very engaging and expressive. My own pets are photographed almost daily. They give me a lot of practice in different techniques that show their personality.
What are some things I have learned over the years?
Don't put your camera away.
This is generally my rule in life. I always have a camera or two near by because I don't want to miss a photo opportunity. In the picture above, I was working at my computer editing photos when I turned around and noticed my daughter's cat, who I love, cuddled up to one of my cameras. I grabbed my other camera and got this picture. Often pets get up and move or don't continue doing what it is that they are doing for long. Being able to put your hands on your camera quickly, can lead to some great shots.
Get in close or down to their level.
Often backgrounds have things in them that detract from the main focus of the photo. Getting in close often reveals interesting details and knocks out the distraction in the background. Focusing on eyes is something humans naturally do when they see a picture. "The eyes are the windows to the soul", so they say. So, make them a focus of your pictures. Compare the pictures below. There are no rules about taking photos, I am only voicing my preferences.
Here we have examples of photographing pets down at the their level and close up, compared to photographing them further away.
Show pets interacting with their owners and other animals.
Pets have special relationships with their owners. You will probably get a better portrayal of their personality if their owner is interacting with them. It is nice to see how that special relationship comes out in the pictures.
Pets interacting with other pets is also fun to record.
Finally, have fun, be playful and be patient.
My pets love having attention focused on them and seem to be willing subject for my attempts at being silly with them. They just like having attention paid to them. I know that is not the case with all pets, but if they allow it, have some fun with them. Below are some of the times myself and my family have had fun with our pets.
Here my dogs helped me make a sample Christmas photo. They were so patient, but look at their expressions. It's like they are saying, "Just get it over with will you?"
Below, Oscar got up on the chair opposite me when I was sitting at the dinning room table (with my camera by me, of course) I just slid my daughters cell phone over and put his paw on it. He didn't move. The caption for this would be, "I've told you before Oscar, no texting at the table!"
My daughter is always a willing participant in the pet photography fun. Again, they are so cooperative.
This blog has taken me so long to put together because I have thousands of photos to scroll through and I have several pets that are no longer with our family and they are really missed. They are family members, that is why it is so important to record them with images.
Gallery of Family and Friend's Pets
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.