Tips and Tricks for Pet Photography

Who doesn’t love pets? They are a part of our family and have that special place in our lives that cannot be taken by anyone else. And, it is out of this affection why we love photographing them as well. But, pet photography is not an easy thing to do. While these little creatures might come running when you least want them to, they may not be ready to show their faces when you point your camera lens in their direction. Focus and exposure are just some of the main concerns when it comes to pet photography. Capturing a perfect shot of your pets is not an easy feat.

But, don’t worry. We have put together some of the best tips and tricks to photograph your pets. Let’s get started.

Exposure Mode

When you are photographing pets, you need to work your hands and equipment quickly. A cute expression your pets have on their face can disappear in an instant even when they are sleeping. If you are not good with a full manual set up, then choosing an auto mode is the best thing to do. If you try adjusting the exposure manually, you might end up losing the moment. If you have a consistent light while shooting your pets, you can also set a manual exposure and then leave it there. If you are looking for more control over the depth of field in the photographs, choosing aperture priority mode on your camera is the best choice. This will allow you to set your aperture and the camera will figure out the other settings all by itself. This will guarantee a perfect exposure every time. 

Pet photography cat in the wild

Shutter Speed

If you are planning to take static pet photographs, the shutter speed should be fast enough that it doesn’t risk camera shake. The shutter speed can be as low as 1/60 sec if you are using monopod or image stabilization. On the other hand, if you are taking action shots, you will need a fast shutter speed so that you are able to freeze the moment. You can try 1/250 sec shutter speed in this case. If you are concerned about the quality of light and its stability, you can increase the ISO level of your device to 400 or above. You can push your ISO really high nowadays without losing image quality with today’s cameras. 

Happy Puppy

 

Aperture

If you plan to take close range static shits, you will need a wide aperture. To blur the background, you can try using a f/5.6 aperture which will focus the attention on the subject rather than other things in the background that might show in the photograph. Make sure you always focus on the eyes.  On the other hand, if you are planning to take action shots of your pet, you should try doing it with a smaller aperture. This will increase the depth of field and will also help hide the smaller flaws you might have made when you were tracking the movement of the subject.

Picture of cat

Focus Mode

To shoot your pets in action, choose Continuous AF shots. This will help keep the camera in focus when your pet moves while you click their photograph. This also ensures that you don’t miss a moment if your camera lens has not yet locked focus.

When you are photographing pets, it is important to be ready as you may get the perfect expression at any moment. The camera should be charged and should be ready to capture any spontaneous opportunities you may come across. Another tip is to keep the focus on the animal itself and try blurring the background as it will make the pet standout from other things in the photograph.

dog in the snow

Pet photography might not be easy, but is an interesting and fun thing to do. Just make sure you keep the session brief as your pets will not like long lengthy photography sessions where they are forced to do things and look a certain way. Remember to experiment and have fun with these beautiful creatures we call friends.

To learn more about pet photography check out our Pet Photography Tips and Tricks post for more fun ways to take epic photos of your pets. You can also check out our Tips and Tricks for Wildlife Photography.

About the Author

Edin Chavez
Travel junkie, animal lover, troublemaker, daydreamer and a bit obsessed with my camera. Addicted to documentaries, coffee, hot sauce, and blue cheese.
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