Capturing the perfect character moment in a picture is not as easy as it looks, especially when it comes to animals. Pets, unlike us, don't always get what we are trying to do. The WF team put together a collection of cute animal pics for inspiration and the tips you will need to help you shoot your own.
Embrace Your Pet's Quirks
You know your pet better than anyone else, and a successful picture is one that conveys the character behind all that fur. If you have a lazy cat, show him yawning. If your animal is a playful type, show her in action performing her favorite trick. It is all about capturing the personality of the pet you know and love.
Go Au Naturale
It's best to use natural light, when possible. A flash can frighten our four-legged friends, not to mention give them that annoying red-eye effect in pictures. Try shooting near a window and letting the outside light pour in to brighten the shot. Note on this one: don't frame the window or any light behind your pet. If that isn't working, go outside. Mother Nature provides the easiest light to work with when it comes to taking pictures.
Throw out a basket for a cat to crawl in or a soft blanket to curl up on. If that is a no-go, then call in reinforcements! If Fido or Fluffy is not cooperating, have a human lend a hand. A person can hold or interact with the pet and the look on that furry face will be priceless.
Put on that long lens and fill the frame with your pet's face and fur! Close-up shots can make for beautifully detailed portraits, every whisker and glint of the eye in frame. If your pet won't cooperate with posing, a close-up can be taken from far away and still capture their features. This way you don't invade their space and you can snap pic after pic!
Get On Their Level
It is very important that your pet feels comfortable and at ease, so instead of forcing your furry friend to pose in a specific spot, go find them. The key is to get down on your pet's level.
We all know how a dog looks when viewed from above. This is the way we always see them. Show us the way they see world! Sit on the floor or lie on your belly and remember to shoot from HIS eye level or below.
Focus On The Eyes
Take a page from Friday Night Light's Coach Taylor, "clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Make sure your pet's eyes are in clear, sharp focus. Animal eyes can be very expressive! When the eyes are in focus, anything out of focus starts looking a bit more indie and artistic, and less like a mistake.
Wait For It
One of the most difficult things is to get your pet to hold still. An easy trick is to let him play quietly and, once you have everything ready, let someone call for him or whistle. This will surprise your pet and catch his attention. You will have a few seconds to capture him in a nice, alert pose.
Patience And Timing Are Everything
Pet photography requires a lot of patience. Try to schedule your photo shoot when your pet is somewhat sleepy or has just woken from a nap. Right after a hearty meal is a pretty good time, too. No matter how excited your furry friend is, if you are patient enough, he will end up relaxing and you will have the opportunity to get a decent shot.
Sometimes even the best-laid plans just don't give you the "character moment" you want.
So be prepared to capture the moments your pet offers you. Maybe it is a shared dream with your little girl and you add a tiara to get your golden image. Or maybe you take that "bad dog" moment your little pup gives you and embrace the fun of it.
Have an idea of what you are trying to capture, but always be willing to go with the flow. After all, what you are really trying to do is snap a picture of your pet's natural character. Sometimes, for better or worse, you have to let them be themselves to do that!