Dog on the Move

pet images ideas and methods

June 20, 2022

Our information to photographing pets tells you every thing you’ll want to know for excellent pet images. Whether or not you’re planning on photographing your individual pet or another person’s, this information will allow you to get some nice pictures.

Lead picture: Chris Winsor, Getty Photographs

Welcome to the AP Enhance Your Pictures Collection – in partnership with MPB – This collection is designed to take you from the beginnings of images, introduce totally different capturing expertise and kinds, and educate you the best way to develop as a photographer, so you may get pleasure from producing superb images (and video), to take you to the subsequent stage, whether or not that’s getting cash or just mastering your artwork kind.

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Every week you’ll discover a new article so be sure that to come back again to proceed your journey. The beginning could appear primary to some photographers, nevertheless it’s an vital step in ensuring you’re comfy along with your gear and the fundamentals of images, because it’s a part of the foundations that assist construct into nice images, and as soon as you already know these, you’ll be capable to play with them, and perceive additional articles on this collection.

For tens of millions of individuals around the globe, no household is full with out a cat, canine or different pets. We lavish fortunes on our beloved pets, in addition to our affections, so it’s solely comprehensible that we’d need to {photograph} them too.

However it appears we don’t identical to to take photos of our personal pets, we additionally love different individuals’s. In line with Flickr, cats and canines are among the many most looked for phrases of their group.

Humour and pets make a great combination. The cat's expression in this bath time moment is priceless.

Humour and pets make an awesome mixture. The cat’s expression on this bathtub time second is priceless. A Persian cat getting a shower. Picture KevinJeon00, Getty Photographs

Little question, you’ve spent a number of hours your self viewing cute photos and movies of cats, canines, and different cute pets.

The difficulty is, pet images is just not straightforward.

Canine might come if you name, and cats might mysteriously seem on the sound of a can opener, however level a digital camera at them they usually immediately develop a thoughts of their very own.

Their typical response is to come back proper as much as the digital camera and both rub up towards it (in the event that they’re a cat) or stick their slobbery moist nostril on the entrance of the lens (in the event that they’re a canine), or ignore you fully.

Throw into the combo the problem of focusing and publicity, and now we have a cocktail of complexity that makes getting an awesome pet images shot an actual problem.

However don’t fear – we’ve put collectively a variety of tips about reaching nice pet images, liberally sprinkled with the knowledge of contributing photographers, together with a variety of pet images to encourage and amuse you, and look cute.

Pet Pictures: Digital camera Settings

Know your camera settings to get the best results when photography pets

Know your digital camera settings to get the most effective outcomes when images pets

Publicity Mode

You could work shortly when photographing pets. Even when they’re dozing, a cute expression can disappear immediately, so become familiar along with your digital camera, and transfer away from the Auto mode, by switching to P (Program), Aperture precedence, or for management over the shutter pace, swap to Shutter precedence (S or Av relying in your digital camera).

Aperture Precedence is an effective alternative as a result of it provides you extra management of your depth of area, whereas Shutter Precedence might be helpful for capturing quick motion.

If the sunshine is constant you may additionally set the publicity manually and go away it there.


For static pictures at shut vary a large aperture akin to f/2.8 will assist blur the background and focus the viewer’s consideration on the topic.

When you’re doing motion pictures of, say, your canine working you could desire a smaller aperture to extend your depth of area. This can assist compensate for any small errors in focusing as you observe the topic’s motion.

Shutter Velocity

For static pet portraits you solely want to make sure the shutter pace is quick sufficient to handhold with out risking digital camera shake.

If in case you have picture stabilisation or a monopod this might be as little as 1/15sec. For motion pictures a quicker pace might be required to freeze motion. Strive 1/250sec as a place to begin.

Capturing action can be tricky, but worthwhile, and a tennis ball can help create great shots. Photo: Philip Thompson / EyeEm, Getty Images

Capturing motion might be tough, however worthwhile, and a quick shutter pace, and a tennis ball may also help create nice pictures. Picture: Philip Thompson / EyeEm, Getty Photographs

If the sunshine stage is just not that shiny you could want to extend your ISO to 400 or above to allow this. Don’t overlook the possibility to make use of a slower pace and pan the digital camera along with your pet’s motion. This could create a extra dynamic outcome.


Animal fur is notoriously tough to meter from. Darkish fur absorbs plenty of mild whereas white fur displays it. If in case you have a black and white pet the distinction vary could also be larger than your sensor can address, and also you’ll have to get your publicity spot on to retain element in each the black and white bits.

In case you are filling the body with a darkish topic akin to a black Labrador your meter will attempt to flip the black fur gray, so that you’ll want to use unfavourable publicity compensation, such a -1EV. The reverse is true with a white pet – you could want so as to add a cease of so of compensation to keep away from underexposure.

In case your pet is a comparatively small a part of a wider scene issues get tough, as a result of the brightness of the environment comes into play. A black canine working on a seashore, say, is an excessive instance the place the meter, influenced by the background, might render the canine a stable black mass with no element in any respect.

Do a check shot first. Use the histogram, if it helps. Be sure you shoot within the Uncooked (LINK) format too, as a result of for those who do get it improper you’ll have far more scope for adjustment later.

This great action shot was captured using a fast shutter speed and the use of continuous AF and high speed continuous drive mode.

Uusing a quick shutter pace and steady AF and excessive pace steady drive mode will allow you to get nice motion pictures like this. Picture taken in Graz, Austria. Picture: Przemyslaw Iciak / EyeEm, Getty Photographs

Focus Mode

Choose Steady AF for pictures of your pet in motion. This can make sure the digital camera retains refocusing in your topic because it strikes.

Additionally, crucially it means that you can shoot at any time, whether or not the lens has targeted or not.

This can make sure you don’t miss the decisive second and, for those who’ve stopped right down to a reasonably small aperture, your topic ought to nonetheless be moderately sharp.

Photographing pets: Know Earlier than You Go!

Be Prepared

Maintain your digital camera charged and loaded with a recent reminiscence card prepared for spontaneous alternatives.


Get right down to the animal’s stage (until a better angle fits the second) and exclude distracting background particulars. A large aperture will assist.

Enlist some assist

When photographing pets an assistant might be helpful to assist hold your topic in place and make noises/wave toys to get it to look within the path of the digital camera.

Photographing pets: What You Want

Shallow depth of field that has drawn attention to the parrot in this low-light portrait. Photo: Juana Mari Moya, Getty Images

Shallow depth of area has drawn consideration to the parrot on this low-light portrait. Picture: Juana Mari Moya, Getty Photographs

Digital camera and Lens

You should use any digital camera, although a DSLR or Mirrorless may give you extra artistic management over your pet images, with straightforward to entry handbook controls, in addition to a alternative of lenses.

The gear you’ve got will affect the form of pictures you’re seemingly to achieve success along with your pet images. You would possibly battle to get good motion pictures with a compact digital camera, however static pet portraits needs to be no drawback.

Whereas a telephoto lens is sweet for pictures of your canine working within the park, a normal lens works effectively for documentary model photos.

Whereas a wideangle at shut vary might be a good way to inject a way of humour to your portraits.


A tripod is a handicap for many pet images as you want to have the ability to transfer and recompose shortly. Nonetheless, a monopod will present stability in your digital camera with out impairing your capability to react shortly to occasions.


Utilizing flash is usually not a good suggestion when photographing pets. Direct flash is unflattering, and animals get redeye too. Even off-camera flash can bounce off shiny fur and look disagreeable.

When you should use flash, bounce it off a wall or ceiling, nevertheless it’s virtually all the time higher to set a excessive ISO as an alternative.

Viewpoint and Composition

Always do this on a safe empty road while someone else is driving and keep your camera strap around your wrist or neck, Photo: Seth K Hughes, Getty Images

At all times do that on a secure empty highway whereas another person is driving and hold your digital camera strap round your wrist or neck, Picture: Seth Ok Hughes, Getty Photographs

Identical to when photographing kids, the most effective pet images are normally obtained if you get right down to their stage.

In the event that they’re at floor stage, versus on the window ledge or the couch, it will entail getting down on the bottom along with your digital camera.

In case your digital camera has reside view you would possibly discover it simpler to set the digital camera down low and consider issues on the display from larger up. That is a lot simpler when you have a tilting LCD display.

Alternatively a lot of nice pet portraits have been taken from probably the most uncommon of angles. This contains wanting down on them from straight above (ideally suited for exhibiting them remoted inside a panorama) and even wanting up from beneath (excellent for emphasising the peak of a tall canine).

Select a viewpoint to swimsuit the topic, and what you’re attempting to say about them.

Photographing pets: Get in Shut – or Stand Again

Very cute puppy - Photo Lee Thompson, Getty Images

Very cute and lovable pet, the Cavashon pet. Picture Lee Thompson, Getty Photographs

For optimum impression fill the body along with your topic. This both means getting into fairly shut or utilizing a telephoto lens.

If it’s a canine, and it isn’t yours, verify that it’s pleasant earlier than getting too shut! Unusual cats are more likely to run earlier than you will get inside clawing vary, so an extended lens could also be wanted, however you will get fortunate with some.

A substitute for the frame-filling method is to face again and present the animal of their setting in order that it turns into extra of a documentary shot. A cat sunbathing in a tree, for instance, will in all probability look higher for those who can see extra of the tree.

Whether or not you go in shut or present a wider view ought to depend upon whether or not the setting provides to the image, akin to by serving to to inform a narrative or present context, or detracts from the impression of the topic.

Photographing pets:  Candid Photographs

Look for candid shots, as well as interaction between different pets. Photo: Catherine Falls Commercial, Getty Images

Search for candid pictures, in addition to interplay between totally different pets. Picture: Catherine Falls Industrial, Getty Photographs

Candids are about capturing your pet’s pure behaviour. Perhaps {photograph} the canine chasing a stick or hanging out of the automotive window, pets interacting with one another, or the cat stalking within the backyard.

On a much less energetic stage it might simply be an image of them dozing on the couch.

The purpose is, when photograping pets you’re not attempting to get them to do one thing they weren’t doing anyway. This method is simpler than the posed portrait however you’ll nonetheless want persistence to catch the best second.

Seeing this kitten looking out of the window - take a shot of her from the outside, which made a more interesting shot.

Seeing this kitten searching of the window – take a shot of her from the surface, which makes a extra attention-grabbing shot. Picture: Cristian Bortes, EyeEm, Getty Photographs

It helps when you have some information of your pet’s character. For instance, if you already know that if you take your canine right down to the river he’s liable to leap in, you might be prepared and ready, with tele-zoom mounted and quick shutter pace chosen. (You should definitely stand effectively again when it will get out and shakes itself vigorously!)

In case your cat follows a particular route on its common perimeter patrol of the backyard, you may pre-focus on a spot and be prepared for it.

Maintain your digital camera useful always, with the battery charged and a recent reminiscence card. That manner, in case your cat unexpectedly curls up with the canine when you’re getting ready dinner you may seize the digital camera shortly and get a shot of it.

Photographing pets: Posed pictures

Posed pet photography - Cat posing outside, photo Chris Winsor, Getty Images

Posed pet images – Cat posing exterior, photograph Chris Winsor, Getty Photographs

If in case you have infinite persistence you would possibly need to strive getting some posed pet images pictures.

This entails putting them in a pre-arranged setting and normally having them look into the digital camera, ideally with a cute expression. Simpler mentioned than accomplished, however treats or favorite meals may also help!

Border Collie - Photo: Purple Collar Pet Photography / Getty Images

Select a setting with a transparent and non-distracting background – Border Collie – Picture: Purple Collar Pet Pictures / Getty Photographs

When you’re actually formidable you may arrange a white background for a studio-style image. Nonetheless these kinds of pet portrait can appear sterile with none pure environment to offer some context.

A plain patch of grass exterior is ideal.

Indoors you may shoot on the mattress or couch, or the lounge ground – simply be sure you go searching for distracting components within the background and both take away them or compose to exclude them.

Be certain there’s good mild in your topic. Inserting them close to a window or doorway, if indoors, is healthier than utilizing flash.

Outdoor, subtle shade will eradicate distracting shadows and hold the distinction down, making your publicity simpler. Dappled daylight can look good however take care along with your metering.

For the best perspective get down to your subject's eye level, as shown in this shot of a Yorkshire Terrior. Photo: Yevgen Romanenko, Getty Images

For the most effective perspective get right down to your topic’s eye stage, as proven on this shot of a Yorkshire Terrior. Picture: Yevgen Romanenko, Getty Photographs

The subsequent step is getting your topic’s consideration.

Making foolish noises, or waving a toy or brightly colored object, are the plain tried and trusted strategies. That is a lot simpler for those who make use of an assistant to face straight behind the digital camera. If the topic isn’t your individual pet this could ideally be the animal’s proprietor.

Getting your topic to remain put and take a look at you moderately than wandering over to analyze the distraction might be tough. Nonetheless, persistence ought to repay finally.

The factor to recollect with posed pet images is to maintain the session temporary. Animals will get bored, and for those who haven’t obtained an excellent shot within the first couple of minutes of capturing, the possibilities of getting one after that aren’t nice.

Greatest to take a break and have one other go later. Generally you merely should work with what your pet is comfy doing.

Photographing pets – Don’t neglect the house owners

Don’t forget to include the owners when taking pet photographs, Photo: Westend61, Getty Images

Don’t neglect to incorporate the house owners when taking pet images, Picture: Westend61, Getty Photographs

If it’s not your pet you’re photographing, then ask to see if the proprietor needs to be within the images, and attempt to seize some pure wanting images of each the pet and proprietor. This would possibly take a while, however could make for memorable images, that the proprietor will cherish.

You’ll additionally discover a complete vary of different pets that may make for excellent topics, and for a number of the smaller pets, like rodents, and fish, you could want to consider how shut you will get to your topic, and for the smallest of pets you could even want to take a look at utilizing a macro lens.

Guinea Pig feeding, Photo: Carol Yepes, Getty Images

Guinea Pig feeding, Picture: Carol Yepes, Getty Photographs

When you’re planning on taking extra images of canines, then take a look at our high ideas for Canine Pictures, and if you wish to generate profits from pet images, then why not hold a watch out for competitions that settle for pet images, akin to The TOG Awards.

Tune in subsequent week, for the subsequent article within the collection of the AP Enhance Your Pictures Collection – in partnership with MPB.

Discover the most recent Enhance Your Pictures articles right here.


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