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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

A Guide To Pet Photography

The lovely people at Pets At Home recently got in touch with me to see if I'd like to share my tips for pet photography over here in Blunderland, and if you're a regular reader.. you'll already know that my dog Sandy likes to get involved in the occasional OOTD so I thought she might appreciate getting the limelight in her very own guide to pet photography. So.. lets get cracking with some tips and tricks I've picked up along the way that might help you out if you fancy taking the plunge into pet photography!

The first thing you can do to help yourself out in the long run is to tire them out first. I've found that taking Sandy out for a walk pre-photo really makes a difference in how excitable she is. I mean.. excitable is great.. but not when I'm trying to focus my 50mm lens. It's perhaps also useful to note that you'll need to take breaks. Even if your dog is super obedient like Sandy, they'll get bored/tired/distracted if you've got them sitting still for too long so try and make it fun for them too. (That might involve carrying treats.. it's always nice to reward good behavior)

Probably my favourite part about photographing Sandy is when I catch her mid-yawn or pulling a strange/human expression. It might not be to some people's taste but I can't get enough of it and for me.. the whole process is about having fun. Sure.. if I'm getting paid to do this for someone then I want to make sure I get the required end result but having fun is part of the process.
I'd also say, don't be afraid to get involved. In my case.. Sandy often involves herself in any shoots I'm doing in the garden anyway but sometimes I'll make an active decision to have a photograph with her. It's nice to see the bond between pet & owner and if you're only photographing the pet then you can miss out on some pretty photographic interactions.
I also like to mix things up a bit and my favourite way to do this is to use a film camera. If you've got one lying around somewhere, it can be really nice to experiment a little with it. Despite being madly in love with my DSLR and all of my lighting, backdrops, etcetcetc... my heart really does lie with the most basic film cameras. There's something nice about stripping back the complication and just snapping away. Plus, it's always an exciting moment getting your photo's developed!
When it comes to backdrops, I personally prefer to photograph animals in their normal surroundings, whether that be bounding around in the garden or sleeping in their bed surrounded by toys. However, if you're working to a particular brief or want an image that is super clean and simple then it can be nice to do a studio style shoot. Personally, I use this little set up  which I picked up from Amazon around a year ago, and these softbox lights for creating these types of photos, (and the lights are great for filming and product photography too. Winner) but don't feel like you need to invest in lights... if you can set yourself up in front of a large window then you should be fine.. it all depends what you're into.
It's also pretty fun to play about with angles and perspective. Everybody knows what a dog looks like from above... try getting right down to their level and getting up close and personal for some interesting shots. I love getting all up in Sandy's nose with my lens.. (especially when she's just been drinking milk, mucky pup) as I feel like it adds a bit more personality to the photo..... that and because she looks hella cute. Obvs.
When it comes to kit, I'm currently using my Canon EOS 60D which is basically the best thing since sliced bread, but previous to this, was using my Canon EOS 450D which is also great in all the ways and I'm selling it here! I'll usually be using my 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens cause lets be honest.. s'allll about that background blur. If I'm shooting in a studio set up then I'll have my camera attached to a tripod and I'll mostly be using my Remote Shutter to take the photo's. This enables me to get Sandy's attention in whatever direction I want without having to stand directly behind the camera at all times. 

I hope you found this post useful/interesting in some way, and if you decide to take any photo's of your pets then make sure to tag me on twitter and instagram so I can see them!!

Do you have any tips for pet photography? I'd love to hear them!

X

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7 comments

  1. Sandy is too cute! I wish my dog could stay still enough to do that.
    Shaguna
    gold&hearts

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  2. I love dogs and I love photography so this post will definitely help me out photographing my puppy :) Your dog is gorgeous Ally, I'd love to meet Sandy! x

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  3. Sandy was made for the camera! She's a star✨ Photographing animals can be super hard if they won't sit still, you got some great shots! That tounge, though.

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  4. Sandy is the absolute BEST! Loved this post Al, you've got some great shots :-) particularly love the film one. I'd never thought of wearing them out with a long walk beforehand, great tip! xxx

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  5. I always have to tire Seb out before a photoshoot, he's always super excitable and trying to sniff everything. Your dog is super cute
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx | bloglovin

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  6. Aww these are so cute! What a well behaved dog for staying still haha! I wish I had a pup to photograph, staying in France at the mo and their dog loves me, I've managed to get some cracking shots of him rolling around in the grass! Deffo love the crazy full of personality photos most!

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