How to Photograph Pets

January 20, 2014

Sick of taking blurry, out of focus photos of your pet? Summer is the best time to dust your camera off and have fun snapping your furry friend. From jumping in the waves to evening walks in the park, you can use your photos to tell the story of summer for your pet.

Melbourne-based pet photographer Kerry Martin of Akemi Photography shares her best tips to take better photos of your pet.

1. Location, location, location
Picking a great summer location can really add to the feel of your dog photos. The ideal location for capturing your dog in summer would be your local dog friendly beach. Capture them racing through the water or as they shake themselves dry after their swim.

2. Maximise the colour
Bright blue sky, white fluffy clouds, golden sunsets, aqua water, golden sand and your pet in the midst of it all. To help maximise your colour saturation, use a lens hood or shade your camera with your hand (making sure it’s out of the frame). This reduces the risk of flare which lowers image contrast and reduces colour saturation.

3. Get on the same level
Regardless of their size, photographing your pet at their eye level is one of the most engaging ways to photograph your

4. Capture what your pet loves
If your dog has an old, torn sofa where they sleep away their hot summery afternoons, taking their photo here is going to give wonderful memories of your pooch’s nature and favourite things.

5. Summer is for running free
If your dog loves to run, a space where they can do just that will be fabulous in the photos. Try to get in as close as you can while they are running, either with your zoom or your legs. Otherwise your fast moving dog could be just a tiny dot in your photos.

6. Lighting
There is lots of bright light and daylight hours in summer, allowing you to leave the flash off and work with natural lighting. If you’re taking photos in the middle of the day, look for shaded areas for more flattering and even light. Pets will squint or blink when they are looking directly into the sun so wait until a cloud obscures the sun or wait until later in the day to photograph your pet.

7. Timing
Summer can be hot. “I love to wait for the gorgeous evening glow of the Australian long summer days. It keeps your dog happier and the lighting is gorgeous for photography,” Kerry says.

8. Grooming
Don’t forget to make your pets gorgeous for their photos. Brush their fur, clean away any eye goop, trim nails, etc.

9. Eliminate distraction
A hot day at the beach or a run in your favourite park can be the idea of many people.  Pay attention to what is going on in the background of your photo, as it can be easy to overlook things when you’re focussing on your dog.  If you see distracting elements – other people and dogs, towels, beach umbrellas, shoes or rubbish that will take away from your main subject – then pause for a second to remove them or change your angle or perspective to eliminate them from view.

10. Keep your camera handy
Pets can be spontaneous and unpredictable.  Having a camera within reach and ready to go will mean that you are best able to capture some of their most entertaining antics.

11. Just have fun!
Pets don’t always understand exactly what we are wanting them to do, particularly when it’s something new for a photo.  If you keep it fun, the photos will reflect the wonderful times you are having with your pet and their beautiful happy nature.

Share your best pet photos on Instagram using the #shesaid tag!

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