Raise your hand if your pet photos tend to be blurry or out of focus. Raise your other hand if a great shot of your furry friend is like a needle in a haystack of attempts. Here’s good news: there are effective ways to take wonderful pictures of animals without spending hours at it. And you do not have to use a DSLR camera to do that—your camera phone can generate good results.
If you learn how to take good pictures of a dog or cat, you will find pet photography rather enjoyable and rewarding. This applies to a variety of uses, whether as personal mementoes, blog post images, or for pet advertisements. Let’s get things rolling with our top tips for phone-based animal photography.
Know Your Subject
This section can also be called “taking note of your pet’s habits and preferences.” A key aspect to knowing how to take good pictures of animals is capturing shots of them whilst they are at their best selves. This means working with their:
- Natural personality and energy level Some animals are good at being still or posing. Other pets like to be in motion or engaged in a favourite activity. Work with their strengths instead of making them do certain things to get your perfect shot. Also, taking their photo whilst they are at their element will show their distinctive personality.
- Best time of the day If you have a hyperactive pet, you may want to schedule the shoot later during the day. This is because they would have worked off their excess energy by that time and thus are more relaxed. They already had their day’s share of exercise and excitement, and are more likely to cooperate.
If you have a rather laid-back or low-energy pet, a morning photo shoot may be more appropriate. This is because they are likely to be more alert, thus registering better on their photos.
- Age Kittens and puppies are most likely to be constantly in motion than their senior counterparts. To get the shots you need without having to deal with all that motion, capture them whilst half asleep. You can wake them up gently from a nap and even reposition them in the pose you want. Start shooting before they are fully awake.
- Motivation Is the animal food-driven or more likely to respond to squeaky toys or play time with you? Use the most appealing treat to put them in a more cooperative mood before photographing them. You can also use the top reward to catch their attention during the shoot.Tip: You can use a squeaky toy app on your phone. This way, your pet will look at the device directly when you activate the sound.
Check the Background and Lighting
A simple background is the safest option and keeps the animal as the main focus of the shot.
- A solid coloured wall or furniture, or a floor covered with solid-coloured fabric is a good choice.
- See to it that the background colour is flattering or complementary to the animal subject’s coat. Neutral tones are failsafe choices.
Natural light is the best. You do not have to go outdoors for that—a place near a well-lit window is satisfactory. Avoid the midday light, though, as this can create too much contrast. If you cannot avoid a midday shoot, do it in a shaded place. You can do test shots and adjust as you go.
As much as possible, do not use flash as it may spook dogs or cats. If you must use it, the flash must be tested prior to the shoot.
Get Your Focus and Shot Level Right
Your camera may likely focus on the pet’s nose as it is closest to your device than any other part. Shift the focus to the eyes by tapping on the pet’s eye area on your phone before shooting.
If you want to take really good pictures of your cat or dog, go down to his level. This way, you can capture his direct gaze and get striking shots. The resulting images will look as if the pet is staring right at the viewer’s eyes. You can go for the below eye-level shot. Dare to lie on your stomach or crouch just to get that shot!
Use Motion-Friendly Tricks
Use the camera phone’s burst mode in portrait orientation. It allows you to quickly take a series of photos of pets in motion. All you need to do is press and hold the shutter button down. You can pick the best of the lot later.
Another option is using camera panning. For pets that cannot be still, you can follow their movements instead. Hold your phone at the ready, trained to the animal subject. As he moves across the frame, move the phone according to the direction of the pet and snap away. This way, you get to take photos of the dog or cat without getting a blurry result. The background may be blurred, but the animal will be in focus, creating an artsy effect.
Stay Calm and Be Patient
If you are excited or moving about much, the canine or feline subject might get distracted. He may change his position or stop what he was adorably busy with just to observe you. Further, you need to be patient in order to get a wonderful shot at the right moment. You may need to take a couple of shots before you get it right. But once you learn your camera phone’s features and pet behaviour better, you will start getting the shots you seek. Do not get discouraged; just keep shooting!
Ideally, you should have someone assisting you on the shoot so you are ready to take shots at any moment’s notice. The other person will be the one in charge of catching the subject’s attention with treats or squeaky toys.
Use these tips on your next pet photo shoot, then compare your new shots with your past ones to see the difference. Check out these useful pet tips to learn more interesting information!