Little boy photographing his dog

This is a great time of year for capturing those special moments you enjoy with your pet.

The light is at its best in the summer and it’s when we’re most likely to be out and about or sitting in the garden with dogs, cats and other more mobile animal friends.

So, here are our top ten tips which might help you to capture the essence of your pet – and create something that could grace a wall for years to come with precious pet memories!

  1. It’s not going to help anyone to be chasing them around with a camera begging them to sit still. Think ahead about where your pet is at its most comfortable so that you can settle down nearby and calmly take that lovely pic that shows them at their best.
  2. Remember that most pets aren’t very big. To get a really good, meaningful picture get as close as is comfortable for them. That way, they won’t get lost in the background and you can capture the most detail.
  3. That said, don’t assume the subject has to be right in the middle of the frame. It might make a more interesting photo if they’re off to one side, even if only slightly, as long as the rest of the frame adds to the composition by giving the picture context (for instance if they’re on the beach or sat in a particularly pretty piece of countryside).
  4. Whenever possible, get down on their level. This makes for a much more natural and intimate photo. We’ve all seen the picture of the dog from above, and that’s how we see them most of the time anyway. Give your audience a new perspective on your animal friend’s world.
  5. Make sure the eyes are facing your way and are the main point of focus. A photograph of an animal (or a human) losses a massive amount of its impact if the eyes are not the heart of it. If they’re blurred, there’s nothing to draw you in.
  6. Try to avoid flash. It can upset an animal and causes all kinds of havoc with the light when not in the hands of a pro. An experienced photographer will tell you to look for good daylight whenever you are able to use it. And of course flash is really damaging to your picture if you’re photographing a fish or reptile tank, or a metal cage, because it will bounce back!
  7. Be patient. Don’t expect to grab that perfect shot straight away. Everything worth having is worth putting the effort into. Whether it’s an action shot of your dog playing or a bit of calm time with your feline friend, your first picture will rarely be the one you’re after. It might even take more than one session…
  8. While being patient, you still need to be ready. You just know that ideal moment will happen while you’re looking away or your finger is off the shutter.
  9. If your camera supports it (even most smartphones do) try burst mode – where you keep your finger on the shutter and take a large number of images in a second or two. It can take some trawling through afterwards, but that ideal moment could well be in there!
  10. Enjoy the challenge. Photographing pets is hard to do well. That’s why there are professionals who specialise in it and make a living from doing so. But that doesn’t mean you and your pet can’t have some quality time together doing something that could end up lasting a lifetime.
Capture those magic pet memories with a photo
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