If you have a pet (or pets), if you’re anything like me, you love taking photos of them. Still, it can be a challenge to get good, sharp and well-lit images at home. In this video, Matt Granger shares five tips to help you take amazing pet photos at home and depict them in all their cuteness!
Before we get to the five tips, Matt gives an extra tip for Sony shooters. If you own the a7R III and the a7 III, you can download the latest firmware and get the recently introduced Animal Eye AF. It’s not flawless, according to Matt, but it can still be of great help for getting the focus right.
And now, let’s get to the five tips that you’ll find useful no matter what camera brand you use.
1. Establish the scene
Before you start taking photos, Matt advises that you set everything up. He prefers a nice, clean background, so he placed a stool in front of a dark backdrop for his scene. Before you start taking photos, set up your scene, put the camera on a tripod and place the lighting so everything is ready for you to snap photos when the moment is right.
Something to take into consideration here is to make the scene natural for your pets. Use a piece of furniture, a blanket or a bed they like to sit on. Don’t create the environment that’s unfamiliar for them.
2. Depth of field and shutter speed
The second tip leans on the first one. Once you’ve set up the scene, you should also set up the camera and the lighting. Matt notes that you should particularly pay attention to the depth of field and the shutter speed. First, when you photograph animals, it may happen that you have too much depth of field: the eyes are in focus, but the nose isn’t, like in my example below:
Second, animals move fast. This is why another thing to pay attention is using a fast enough shutter speed so you don’t end up in blurry photos.
Keep in mind that fast shutter speed and a closed down aperture may require some additional lighting. Adding an external flash and bouncing it off of the ceiling or a wall will help, or you can use the off-camera flash. Another alternative is to shoot outside in the direct sunlight.
When photographing animals, you need to get them to the spot you’ve chosen. It may be quite a challenge, especially with cats, since they pretty much do what they want not what you want them to do. Still, this can be resolved with some treats.
So, set everything up, prefocus on the scene and lure your furry buddy into the scene with some food. Now that you have them in the frame, it’s time for the next step – get their attention.
4. Get their attention
If you want to make your pet make eye contact with the camera, you need to get their attention. Of course, the way you’re gonna do it depends on your pet. For some of them, tapping onto the lens hood is enough to make them look your way. For the others, you should wave their favorite toy or snap your fingers right above the lens. You can call them by name or make noises they react to… As I said, it depends on your pets.
5. Be patient and review shots
Finally, be patient. You’ll need to take a lot of shots and choose the best ones when you’re finished. Still, don’t forget to review them throughout the shoot. You don’t want to spend a couple of hours fiddling with props, camera settings and stuffing your pets with treats just to realize in the end that most of the photos are blurry.
So, do you have any tips for photographing pets? Feel free to drop them down in the comments below. And don’t forget to share your photos, too – we love animals! : )
[Pet Photography at Home – 5 Tips | Matt Granger]