Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin

Say Cheese, and Woof, and Meow…

March 25, 2014

Everyone wants a great photo of their pet. Photographer Margie Duerr of Olive Photographics shares her tips for capturing the best imagery of your candid canine or feline fashionista. 

  1. Get them tuckered out. (Well, this one is not so much for humans, but possibly toddlers.)  Walk them, run them, burn off some of their energy before you attempt to photograph them. 
  2. Be patient. 
  3. Use natural light or off camera flash. Do NOT use your camera’s built in flash. Turn it off, and crank up your ISO if you have to. Flashes bursting directly into your pet's eyes makes them very leery of having their photograph taken (they don’t understand what that bright scary light is that makes them not be able to see afterwards) and they will begin to look away every time you bring your camera to your face. Get next to a window, pull up an ottoman or a chair, and coax your pet into this area.  
  4. Avoid competing backgrounds. For example, if your dog is brindle, placing them on a plaid chair or polka dotted blanket will not make for a pleasing image. It’s too busy, and your eye will search for the subject. 
  5. Clean up the area you are photographing in. Just tidy up a bit.  Put away TV remotes, newspapers, glasses, toys, stray shoes, and any background clutter. 
  6. If you have a camera where you can control your shutter speed (DSLR), use a high shutter speed to stop motion and reduce camera shake (blurry pictures). 
  7. Keep the eyes sharp. Focus on the ‘windows to the soul’. Your pet’s eyes are very expressive, make sure they are tack sharp. 
  8. Get on their level. These photos look more natural and bring the viewer into their world. 
  9. Use the rule of thirds. Your digital camera may have two lines, horizontally and vertically dividing your camera frame into thirds. Place your subject on one of these lines and you will create a very interesting image. Avoid the center of the frame, “bull’s eye” photograph. 
  10. Experiment and have fun! Take lots of pictures!! You’ll never regret having many, many images of your beloved pet. You would, however, regret not having enough. 

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