An Introduction To Pet Photography


An Introduction To Pet Photography

An Introduction to​ Pet Photography
Introduction
Photographing your pet can be an​ incredibly rewarding experience .​
Done well,​ it​ will allow you​ to​ immortalize Fluffy or​ Spot - that significant member of​ your family - the​ pet that shared you​ food,​ chewed your shoes,​ and brought you​ the​ newspaper .​
in​ fact,​ the​ act of​ seriously photographing your pet will bring you​ both closer because the​ process opens you​ to​ noticing the​ small,​ wonderful things that you​ might have missed before - the​ way he wags his tail,​ etc .​
This is​ a​ grand adventure.
Goal
As with anything,​ it's best to​ proceed with a​ goal in​ mind so you​ know where to​ start .​
What are you​ trying to​ accomplish? Are you​ trying to​ capture your pet's playful side? Are you​ trying to​ setup a​ funny photo using a​ prop such as​ a​ birthday hat? is​ this an​ interactive portrait between your pet and your child? Sit down and put on​ paper this goal,​ because it​ will help you​ in​ preparing properly .​
Nothing is​ worse than spending an​ hour going to​ your favorite scene with equipment in​ hand and realizing your forgot a​ favorite toy - do your self a​ favor,​ do not skip this step.
Setting
Now that you​ have decided on​ your goal,​ it's now time to​ decide the​ proper setting .​
Indoors vs .​
outdoors .​
Near the​ fireplace with an​ open fire in​ the​ background,​ or​ in​ a​ studio .​
At the​ beach or​ in​ the​ woods .​
as​ you​ think about the​ proper setting,​ think about how your pet will respond to​ that setting .​
If you​ decide the​ public park is​ the​ perfect place,​ you​ must think about your pet's resistance to​ distractions .​
is​ he/she able to​ resist running after another animal or​ person? the​ more you​ know your pet and look through his/her eyes,​ the​ better off you​ will be.
Preparation
Now you​ are at​ the​ critical preparation stage .​
You've set your goal,​ you've decided on​ the​ appropriate setting - let's try to​ anticipate all that can (and will) go wrong .​
I​ use the​ word 'wrong' loosely - try not be too rigid and to​ have fun - we will talk more about that in​ a​ minute .​
Write out on​ paper every possible thing you​ can think of .​
Here are some suggestions:
· Exercise your pet - just enough so they are still alert,​ but not hyper
· Lighting - outdoor is​ best,​ but flash will work too - should be natural lighting
· Grooming - only if​ it​ doesn't adversely affect your pet's mood - then do it​ days beforehand
· Props/Toys - favorite of​ the​ pet
· Food - favorite of​ the​ pet
· Be prepared for sudden movement - shutter speed about 1/125th and use iso 400 or​ 800 film (if indoors)
· Watch the​ scene clutter
· Have pet at​ least 6 feet away from background to​ reduce shadows
· Bring an​ assistant to​ help manage your pet
· Zoom Lens
· Camera,​ Film,​ Tripod,​ Equipment,​ etc.
Etc.,​ etc .​
Are you​ getting the​ idea? the​ first time you​ make out your list,​ the​ process will be a​ little tedious,​ but the​ beauty is​ that once the​ list is​ made,​ all you​ need to​ do is​ modify it​ slightly for the​ next sessions.
On Location
Whew,​ you've made to​ shooting location - congratulations .​
Hopefully,​ you've brought everything you​ are going to​ need,​ right? Right! Now,​ it's time for setup .​
Be organized; get everything laid out in​ a​ logical fashion .​
the​ last thing you​ want to​ be doing is​ fiddling around with equipment when you​ need to​ be shooting pictures - an​ animal has a​ zero attention span and you​ have got to​ be ready to​ snap that picture when the​ moment is​ there .​
How is​ you​ animal's demeanor? is​ he/she super wound up? If yes,​ then perhaps some light exercise would be in​ order - nothing too heavy,​ but just enough to​ help him/her calm down .​
How are you? Are you​ stressed? Relax,​ and go with the​ flow - animals are super sensitive to​ your mood .​
Give your pet some last minute grooming - just touch-ups .​
If you​ are outdoors,​ how is​ the​ wind? is​ it​ too strong? is​ the​ sun too bright? Remember,​ overcast is​ much better for exposure .​
Make sure that your pet is​ far enough away from your background so as​ to​ not cast any shadows .​
The Photographer's Mindset
Your mindset should be one of​ peace and serenity .​
I​ can't overstate that enough .​
Also,​ you​ need to​ climb into the​ mind of​ your pet as​ best you​ can .​
What are they thinking and feeling? Align your expectations properly .​
If you​ have never done this before,​ don't expect perfection the​ first time out - that will just raise your anxiety level and will stress out your pet.
Shooting
One of​ the​ most important things to​ remember is​ to​ get down on​ your pet's level,​ physically,​ as​ much as​ possible .​
a​ shot from above doesn't portray intimacy .​
in​ addition,​ when you​ are at​ your pet's level,​ it's easier for you​ to​ empathize with it .​
If you've never crawled around on​ the​ ground before,​ you​ might feel a​ bit foolish,​ but trust me,​ it​ makes all the​ difference in​ the​ world .​
Make sure that you​ and your handler work with each other - you​ have got to​ be in​ charge,​ but also try to​ be flexible - you​ have a​ lot of​ variables that you​ are managing.
Be patient,​ and have a​ lot of​ fun!!!
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