I read every pet photography advice article I find. One thing included in almost every one is to get down to the pet’s level.
This is one of my favorite photos of a very much missed old friend, Mr. Teddy. I put the camera on the ground to get this shot.
Pet Photography Tips
We all have many images of dogs and cats looking up at us from the ground. The magic happens when you drop to your knees or to the ground and shoot a picture at their level or from below.
Whatever level you shoot from, focus on the eyes. That’s where you’ll find the sparkle and personality. Most dogs will follow the camera or your hands with their eyes. Remy (above) has the most beautiful eyes.
Close-ups can be wonderful. You don’t have to show your entire pet to tell a story. You can zoom in and fill your picture with a beautiful face or crop a larger photo to show a dog’s unique expression. When you crop, try to include important characteristics like this Basset's gorgeous ears.
For great candid shots, stand back from the scene and let someone else interact with the dog. Stay far enough away so the dog will sit back and relax and then take a restful photo. Then, crop that photo to give a sense of place. Here I included a statue with Nika to show she was on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
Shooting rapidly and getting down to the dog’s level means you can catch great moments like this little guy’s jump for joy at seeing another pup.
If your phone or camera has continuous shooting ability, use it. The photos you see in our Sunday Dog posts are often one of a series of 6-8 shots taken in a burst. Many of the series are blurs of a moving dog, but one or more will have the wonderful frozen moment that I was trying to capture.
Check the background color. Fur is hard for most cameras to figure out. It can be a blend of tones and it can blend into a background. You need some contrast to show off that wonderful texture and color. Zoe (above) shows up on the grass but would blend into the asphalt path. Pick your spot.
Finally, make it fun for everyone. Take a few photos but don’t make your friends or companion animals uncomfortable. Yes, you want some photo memories, but you also want to remember the non-photo elements of a wonderful walk with your dog.
Sometimes, a totally unposed shot (like the one above of Sollie watching a squirrel) can be the best memory of a day with your dog.
Do you have a favorite photo of your dog? What do you love about it?
Words: Penny Cherubino, edited for BostonZest from her CIty Paws Newspaper Column.
Photography: 2008-2014 Penny & Ed Cherubino