Tips for Photographing Animals

Tips for Photographing Animals

Whether you're taking pictures for a local shelter, practicing your photography skills, or just taking pictures of the family cat, these five tips can help give you the "money shot."

  1. Don't use a Flash
    Flash may be great for some photos, but photographing animals is not one of them. Using the flash can make the animal appear washed out and pale, and it can even scare the dog or cat you're photographing. Instead, go outside. If that isn't possible, light up the room as much as possible.
  2. Photograph Outside, if possible
    Photographing outside not only eliminates the need for flash, but also adds creative backdrops to your photographs. The bright greens and blues or neutral browns and dark greens can really alter the mood of the photograph. Dogs also tend to be more energetic and less anxious when they're outside, which will make photographing easier.
  3. Talk to the Animals
    Talking to the animals you're photographing is very important. Your tone of voice can get a dog excited or calm him down. Cats should be soothed and calm so they don't get nervous in front of the camera.
  4. Use Props and Toys
    Props and toys are great for a variety of reasons. Holding your pet's favorite toy at camera level is a great way of getting them to look at the camera. Animals also appear to be more fun and playful when a toy is in the picture, especially if they're playing with it. A pet's favorite toy can also calm down an animal that is camera shy.
  5. Show your Pet in Action
    Sitting or lying down is not the only way to photograph your pet. Showing off a dog's new trick is a great way to brag and show how great this dog is. Active shots show how energetic your pet is. A great shot is to photograph your dog while running, the ears flapping about and the paws up in midair makes for a great picture.
  6. Shoot at Eye Level
    Eye contact is as important with pets as it is with humans. Eyes are windows to the soul and this is especially true of animals. An animal's eyes are very expressive and can portray calm warmth or an active energy. Capturing your pet's personality is easiest with this shot.
  7. Take Lots of Pictures
    Taking as many pictures as you can increases the chance that you'll get a really good one. Even if you take 20 bad pictures, that one amazing shot will make it all worth it.

If you find that you're especially skilled at getting that special shot, practice your skills at your local animal shelter. Placing pictures of adoptable pets in the local paper or on petfinder.com really helps the chances of those pets getting adopted.

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