If you are trying to get pet photos that are going to be great for a portrait there are some basic concepts to keep in mind.
Many choose to have professional photography done. That is always a possibility, but with a little patience and preparation you can get a great amount of joy doing this yourself. Remember you know your pet better than anyone.
Have fun and don’t rush. Take plenty of pictures.
- Outside is the best possible light. Keep in mind safety is always an issue, but try to take your pet into nature. If it is not possible to go outside, place your pet near a large window with plenty of natural light coming from behind or slightly to the side of you as you face the pet.
- Avoid direct sunlight, as it can alter natural coloring and increase contrast between shadow and light, hiding some features. A bright but overcast day is the best situation.
- Don’t use a flash, it can distort the true coloring. An exception to this is a pet with a black coat. In this case a flash may bring out shading and texture that may be lost in a photo with natural light.
- Take your pictures at your pet’s level. Don’t have the pet look up unless that is the way you want the portrait to appear. Go to them instead of having them come to you. Have them in their world where they are most comfortable. Sit on the grass or lie on the floor. Whatever it takes. This is especially important for full body shots which look best from the side rather than above.
- Take plenty of facial shots. Have their face fill the frame while still in sharp focus. Try some three-quarter views as well as from the fringe, as a slight angled pose can sometimes make a beautiful portrait .
- If your pet will not sit still, have someone hold them in position. If these pictures are solely for the portrait, then hands and arms can be removed from the portrait as long as they are not covering an important marking.
- Keep your pet comfortable and at ease. Cameras can be distracting. If you cannot get your pet to behave normally, enlist the aid of another to keep them engaged.
- Capture the most characteristic expression and pose of your pet. If they are generally happy, try to catch them doing their version of a smile.
- A good idea is to have a favorite treat or toy on hand. Hold it by the camera, and try to direct their interest in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to act silly.
Please note the quality of my portrait will be dependent on the photographs. If they are blurred or your pet is a small spot in the photo I have less to work with and the final portrait will have some guesswork.