Capture the Cuteness: Pet Photography Tips

You may have noticed that I enjoy taking pictures of my dogs.

I can’t help it. I mean…look at them:

(That might be my favorite ever, not because it’s a great shot – it was taken ages ago with a very old camera – but rather because Virgil looks like The Dude, and Lucy looks…like Lucy.)

So yesterday when I was invited to stop into the Sony Club to get some tips on pet photography from Andy Katz as part of Sony’s collaboration with Petco to celebrate the National Adoption Reunion (and to support Petco’s animal rescue efforts)…well, obviously: yes.

For those of you who are bloggers (or just love taking shots of your babies), some of the tips I picked up:

– Shoot a lot: it costs you nothing but memory, and all you’re looking for is to capture that one great moment. Especially with animals, a willingness to spend extra time and take tons and tons of photos is key to getting a really great image.

– The best light is found really early in the morning, when the sun is at an extreme angle, or in the late afternoon (about an hour before sunset, when I took that shot of Lucy), when, as a bonus, the good light lasts a bit longer.

– If you have to shoot at midday, look for shadows: shade creates beautiful light.

– Use backlighting, silhouetting, or selective focus (for example, focusing on something in the foreground and leaving the subject blurry, or focusing just on one part of the animal) if you’re after a dramatic shot.

– Focus on how you’re exposing your subject; don’t worry so much about the rest of the image. An overexposed background, for example, could both look cool and help to make your subject pop.

– Don’t set your camera to shoot in black and white – shoot in raw mode, and deal with making any adjustments after the fact. Speaking of black-and-white, go for it when the color doesn’t “help” the photo (it obviously does in the above photo).

– With animals, you often end up taking a wider-framed image and then cropping it into the shot you want…which is why high megapixels are particularly important.

– Try different angles, getting down on the ground or up on a chair.

– Use a squeaky toy or a long-lost dad to get a difficult subject’s attention.

Click here to learn more about Petco’s Volunteer Program, and here to learn more about adding a new member to your family through adoption.

Click here to learn about Sony’s WX9 Cyber-Shot, which features a special “pet mode.”

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