The Easiest Way To Photograph Your Dog or Cat

November 16, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

Photographing your beloved dog or cat can be a great challenge, but if you know when she is in a restful, quiet pose, you can get that photo quickly, and in sharp focus. I love photographing our two Bedlington Terriers, and I have literally thousands of photos of them. We have a female, Misty, who is about 5 years old, and her brother Rogue, about 4 years old. There's never enough photos, it seems.

Photograph Your Dog When She's Sleeping

If your pet is running around and playing, its usually next to impossible to capture a good - not to mention great - photograph. After trying to take a good photo of Misty when she was running around, I realized I was fighting the natural flow of things. I saw the answer - just wait till she's asleep. .

Even with instant auto-focus cameras, if there is the slightest delay between the moment you press the shutter button and the actual shutter release, the shot is usually a miss. Instead of capturing the entire dog in the frame, there would be only part of the dog. A picture of a dog's back, from on top and angled, is not attractive. Give up the struggle.


Always Have Your Camera Handy

The secret to being able to take your time and to take the photo with great care, is be ready:

  • always have your camera with or near you - within arm's reach
  • always have the camera turned on
  • have your camera on a tripod in advance of the photo session
  • if you are using a built in flash, have the flash turned on in advance
  • create an attractive "set" prior to taking the photos
  • groom your dog beforehand so she'll look amazing

Create A Simple Photo Set For Your Pet

How can you create a "set" for your dog or cat before the photo session? Simple - just cover the chair or floor or backdrop with material. Obtain neutral colored material from a fabric shop, or from your own closet. How big? That will depend

  1. on the size of the couch, chair, floor, or seat you wish to cover,
  2. on the size of your dog or cat,
  3. on the size of the surrounding area upon which you choose to have photographic control

The color of the material should not interfere with the photograph itself. Backgrounds are best when they are neutral and not even noticed. I like neutral tones, and in the photo above, it is a rich, dark brown which complements Misty's beautiful grey fur.

Pick Up Your Pet And Move Her Into The Set

If your pet is asleep, simply pick her up and move her over to the set your created. As simple as that sounds, it works. If your sweet dog is asleep, lying down, nice and still, you will be able to take your time and take as many photos as you want, and she will be still, in focus, and cooperative. It's certainly a solution and easier than trying to capture her when she's running around.

Leave Space For Cropping

As you look through the viewfinder, leave an extra 20% margin on each of the four sides of the animal for cropping (do this whenever you photograph anything). As you enlarge a photo, it expands proportionately and you will need the space. If you take a digital photo, of course you can instantly see the results - thus, you can adjust accordingly. Next, look to see If the angle of the photo is attractive. Can you see her eyes? Does her entire body fit in the frame? Is it in precise focus? Did you look at all possible angles? Time and practice and experience will enhance your results. You will always cherish your photos of your beloved pets. Take many photos. Keep practicing. Your photos will become more and more beautiful as you practice.

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