People love to get portraits of their children. Since pets are considered part of the family, it is not surprising that people want portraits of their pets. Pet portrait photography is a niche segment of photography. There are not many photographers in this area, and it is an area that can be lucrative. If you are interested in photographing pets, it is an area to explore.
In this guide, we tell you all you want to know about pet portrait photography. The tips given here will help you become a good pet photographer specializing in pet portraits.
What is this niche all about?
Pet photography involves taking photographs of either your pets or pets belonging to others. Unlike wildlife photography, you don’t have to wait for an animal to turn up. With the help of the owner, you can get the pet to pose for you. The ultimate aim is to get good-quality portrait photos of the pet for the owner.
The prerequisites for pet portrait photography include:
- An interest in photographing pets.
- Ability to shoot at close angles.
- Patience and being able to wait for the pet to pose.
- A love for animals that allow you to get along with them.
If you can’t stand animals or are scared of them, then you will find pet photography tough. Also, you don’t need to have any special knowledge of pets. All you need is an interest in this area.
There are resources that you need to get started:
- A good quality camera that allows you to shoot in RAW mode. This is essential, so you can edit the photos easily later.
- You need a telephoto lens, so you can shoot from a distance. Pets can be unnerved if you go too close to them, so a zoom lens is a good idea.
- You can use a wide-angle lens if you want to capture a broad perspective.
- Ideally, you should shoot using natural light. Flashlights can be unsettling for pets. Reflectors are a better option.
Get to know the pet
It is important to have a rapport with the pet. Since the pet parent is the client, you will not have problems getting to know the pet. Spend some time playing with the pet. You should get some toys and treats with you. Use them to be friendly with the pet. Once you have established trust with the pet, then going ahead with the shoot would be easy.
Tips to shoot effective pet portraits
1. Decide the settings
You need to decide the settings for the shoot. Outdoor or near a window is ideal. Natural light is preferable when you shoot. Using artificial lights is not a good idea and it may make the pet uncomfortable. Spend some time taking photos at different locations without the pet. Check out how it looks, so you can decide on the final location. You can even shoot at more than one place.
2. Patience is the key
If you don’t have patience, you cannot be successful at pet photography. It is very rare to get a pet that co-operates with you. Most pets would do something to spoil the photo at the last minute. Getting pets to pose takes a lot of effort. You need to be patient. Take your time by playing with the pet first. You should create a situation where they are ready to listen to you. Take the pet parent’s help for this.
3. Shoot at eye level
The best photos are those taken at eye level. Be prepared to get down and lie on the ground to shoot. You can bend or sit on the ground as you shoot. While you shoot at eye level, ensure you focus on the animal’s eye.
4. Be ready to get the best shot
While shooting animals, you never know when you will get the perfect pose. So, you need to be prepared with your camera ready. Once the pet is ready, start shooting like a sports photographer. Take continuous shots one after the other. Even if you have to discard 90% of the photos, it doesn’t matter. Getting that one perfect photo is important.
5. Use your creativity
You need to use your creativity to get the best results. Study pet portraits by professionals and get ideas from them. Look around and see how best you can use the surroundings to enhance the photo. Try to get action shots as they look more effective. Capture them playing with their toys or other pets.
Animal photography is a lucrative business. With patience, skill, and the right strategies in place, you can become an ace in this field.