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Hey photographers, Shannon here! I want to talk about an extra-special subject many of us wish to capture often– our pets! I’m willing to bet if you own one, you’ve tried countless times to photograph them at home or on-the-go. If you don’t, perhaps you’ve stopped a furry friend and their owner on the street for a quick hello. Whether these beloved animals are family members or just make up a sweet, fleeting encounter, we want our photos of them to embody exactly how wonderful they are. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

  1. Bump up ISO and shoot in continuous mode- Animals are constantly moving (unless you catch them sleeping!), so it’s a good idea to bump up your ISO in order to increase your shutter speed. This will allow your camera to freeze motion, so even if your pet is mid-run, you can achieve a crisp, clear action shot. Another ideal setting when shooting moving subjects is continuous mode, which allows you to snap several photos in a matter of seconds.
  2. Get on their level- Most often, our pets are smaller than us, so you’ll want to photograph them from their perspective when creating a portrait. Don’t be afraid to get low! This will also make it easier for you to get the shot you want because you won’t have to entice your pet to look up at you.
  3. Turn off your flash and try utilizing natural light instead- Flash can be harsh and can even frighten an animal, so it’s probably best you keep this off. Additionally, you’ll avoid red-eye and blown-out details. Use natural light instead to keep your pet happy and unbothered. 
  4. Adjust aperture to focus on the details of your pet’s face- With any portrait, it’s nice to play with your camera’s aperture to create an in-focus subject and a blurred background (try the lowest aperture number on the lens you’re using and if need be, work up from there). Like humans, animals tell us so much through their eyes, so focus on this as you take your photos. Pets also have a lot of color and texture to their fur, hair, feathers, etc, so bringing attention to these details will greatly improve your images.
  5. Eliminate distracting objects- You’ll want to scratch any random objects in the background that will take our eyes off your subject. Also, the less there is to divert your pet’s attention away from your camera, the better!
  6. Capture personality- How would you describe your pet? Full of energy? Chill? The queen of the house? Keep this in mind when you shoot them, because again, like any portrait, you want the image to embody who the subject is.
  7. Be patient- Remember, your pet has a mind of its own– one that doesn’t always understand what we’re trying to tell it! Take your time and don’t fret if you don’t get your shots right away. Have fun and appreciate your furry companion’s company!
Happy shooting!
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