Photographing Your Pets June 03 2009, 0 Comments

When I began as a photographer, my work consisted mainly of taking portraits. Engaged couples, family holiday photos, and children were all a part of my working day. At the time, I had a sweet little dog, named Buckwheat. He was a spoiled Maltese who pretty much ran the house! But he was a great dog to photograph. He often would sit longer than any child and many adults frankly, letting me get just the right photo to stick into my holiday cards! I also took his photograph each year for his birthday. While he has long since passed away, I learned some very important lessons about photographing animals.

Patience. The number one skill you must bring to this type of photo shoot is patience. Animals wiggle, sniff, scratch, lie down, and stretch! You will find that you wait for them to be ready, not the other way around.

You can train your pets from a young age to sit and “pose”. The three creatures that run my house now, have been photographed since they were just months old. You can incorporate the training as a part of their puppy training. They learn quickly not to be frightened by the camera noise or the lights.

Use props, various backgrounds and lighting set ups so that they get use to objects that are not a part of their everyday surroundings. Learn what your animals will tolerate. Try using hats, and puppy clothes to make your photos fun.

Be aware of your animals needs. One of my dogs as severe eyes problems. Therefore, I never use flash with him. I create enough artificial light so that when I photograph him the exposure is even.

Also, be sure to use caution when choosing objects to put in your photos. Last August, my dog Shakespeare was turning eight. I decided to use a large quantity of colorful balloons and place him in the middle of them. While blowing up the balloons, I was called to the phone. Shakespeare decided to take advantage of the moment, jump up on the table and swallow several of the yet to be blown up balloons. After an emergency trip to the vet to get the balloons out of his belly, we took a wonderful photograph, a very expensive photograph, but a wonderful one just the same!

Be sure that however you choose to photograph your pets that it is safe for them. You may even find that you can earn money photographing pets for others once you have some of the skills down.

To view some of our pet photographs visit flickr