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Ryan Watkins Photography
10 Tips to Improve Your Pet Photography

This is the first of many basic photography tips and tutorials I’ll be posting due to several requests.

 

Feona - Bernardston, Massachusetts Pet portrait session Bernardston, Massachusetts

 

Everyone loves to take candid photos of their pets here are ten simple tips to improve your pet photography.

 

1.Focus on the Eyes

 

Keeping the eyes sharp is key to any successful portrait. Your pet’s eyes should, in most cases, be the main focal point of the image.

 

Tanner - Clare, Michigan Pet portrait session Clare, Michigan

 

2.Use a Shallow Depth of Field

 

Using a shallow depth of field helps make your pet stand out from the background. Try shooting with apertures like f/2.8 or f/4 to throw the background out of focus to make your pet stand out. This will also make your shutter speed quicker minimizing motion blur if your pet is moving. The above photo was shot at 200mm f/4 to throw the background out of focus and emphasize the cat.

 

3.Use A Longer Lens

 

Longer focal lengths help throw the background out of focus putting more emphasis on your pet.

 

4.Remove Distraction from the Background

 

Before you start shooting remove anything, which could be distracting in the background of the photo. It is not worth your time and effort to spend hours retouching out things in the background you could have easily moved in the first place.

 

DuBreuil Pets - Reed City, Michigan Pet portrait session Reed City, Michigan

 

5.Get Out of the Direct Sun

 

Your pet will look a lot more flattering in the shade right next to the sunlight compared to if he or she was sitting out in the direct sun. The above photo was shot in the shade and I used an off camera flash to create the much nicer lighting than if they were in the direct sunlight.

 

Jynx - Farwell, Michigan Pet portrait session Farwell, Michigan

6.Shoot in Well Lit Areas

 

If there is not enough light your camera has trouble focusing and it will have to use a longer shutter speed, which can lead to out of focus images. Staying in better-lit areas (like next to a window or outside in the shade) will help your camera focus easier and result in better photos. The above photo was shot next to a window to light the cat with nice soft light.

 

7.Have Someone Else Keep Their Attention

 

Have someone else keep your pet’s attention while you’re shooting. This will keep them looking the direction you want.

 

DuBreuil Pets - Reed City, Michigan Pet portrait session Reed City, Michigan

 

8.Get Down on Their Level

 

Get down on the ground with your pet. I was laying on the ground to take the above photo.

 

9.Make Sure They’re Clean

 

You wouldn’t go to a photo session without showering; neither should your pet.

 

Sookie - Farwell, Michigan Pet portrait session Farwell, Michigan

 

10.Stay Calm and Be Patient

 

Pets are unpredictable and difficult to control you’ll need to be patient to get the best photos of them.

 

Ryan Watkins Photography specialized in pet portraiture. I’ve photographed cats, dogs, horses, and even monkeys. February is Pet Month at Ryan Watkins Photography! Pet Sessions are now only $49 and come with a complimentary 8×10 print throughout the month of February! To book a session go to the Contact page.

 



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