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Natural Light

Try to avoid using the flash. Not only can it cause red-eye, but it may also startle your pet and make them nervous. Using a flash can wash out a pet with light-colored fur or feathers, and create glare with glass tanks. It’s best to use natural light whenever possible.

Portrait of dog outside

Capture Their Character

Some of the best photos, whether they are people or animals, are candid. Being able to capture your pet’s personality is key to a great photo, even if it means taking a picture of them sleeping. Try capturing them doing what they love to do and what makes them unique, whether it’s running around, playing with a toy, or lounging in the sun.

Two dogs sleeping under blankets
Dog hanging head out car window

Freeze the Action

Photographing your pet while playing is a great way to capture their personality and create an interesting shot. However, this can prove to be difficult at times. The key is to freeze their action by using a fast shutter speed. Setting your camera mode dial to Shutter Priority (TV or S) gives you control on how you freeze the action. You may also want to set the focus mode to Continuous Focus (Al Servo or AF-C), enabling the lens to maintain focus while your pet is moving. As an alternative, if you prefer to use your camera's automatic modes, use the Sport Mode (Action Mode), which means the camera selects the appropriate shutter speed for your subject. Another great option is to use Continuous mode (Burst mode) to take a quick series of shots simply by holding down the shutter button. You’ll end up with a wonderful sequence of shots.

Dogs playing

Focus on Eyes

It’s easier said than done to get up-close, expressive shots of our pets. The eyes are the most expressive part of the face. Try to catch them at a time where they are not full of energy, bouncing off the walls, but rather when they are about to fall asleep or have just finished eating. Try using a standard lens or a macro lens, set on Aperture Priority mode (A or AV) to bring focus to your pet, blurring out the background. Make the eyes the focal point of the image and try to avoid using the flash, as we discussed earlier.

close up of a pug
Close up of a kitten

Get on Their Level

Pets love it when you get down to their level, mainly because, in their mind, it’s play time. However, getting down on the floor with your pet enables you to capture some great shots. This will also help with getting your pet to come to you. You’re much more welcoming on the floor with your camera than when you’re standing with your camera on a tripod trying to get your dog to come closer to you. When we get down to their level, we get to see the world as they do.

Dog sleeping
Cat basking in the sun

Include People

For most pet owners, your pet is a member of your family. Taking shots with family members interacting with your pet can make the images more personal, ones you will always cherish. Including people in the shot also adds context and reveals more of your pet’s personality, whether they are posed or more candid, such as playing together or taking a nap together. Pets make the best napping buddies.

Girl with dog
Boy with turtle

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