If you are a pet owner then I am sure you have wanted to make some scrapbook pages about these important members of the family.
But it is not always easy to get good photographs of animals.
So here are some hints and tips on getting better pictures of your furry, feathered, scaly, wriggly, nibbly and loyal friends.
Decide on a good location for your picture taking. You need somewhere comfortable for both the creature, and yourself.
Try to avoid too many background distractions and also that the pet will show up against the background. Taking pictures of a black cat on a black leather sofa will result in your kitty performing a Cheshire-cat-like vanishing act from the snaps.
Brush, groom or generally tidy your pet before you start (unless you are after the more au natural look, of course).
If your pet is liable to try to escape, now is a good time to gather friends, family and physical barriers to coral them safely.
If your pet is clearly nervous or unhappy then it is probably best to wait for another day. The animal’s welfare must always come first, of course.
An action shot
Not many pets will pose nicely for a camera, sadly. So you may need to distract your pet to get him or her to stay still.
Food works wonders for this, plus a picture of a little animal nibbling is always cute.
Larger animals such as cats, dogs and horses are quite easy to take photographs of when they are playing naturally. Keep your distance so as not to distract them – the zoom on your camera is your friend – and take lots and lots of shots so as to be sure to have some really good ones. If your camera has an action, sport or ‘fast shot’ mode, now is the time to use it.
If you are having problems focusing in on a small animals such as a hamster or tarantula, try stepping right back and then zooming in. This not only makes it easier for your camera’s auto-focus to work properly, it also will throw the background out of focus, meaning your furry little friend will look sharper and more prominent.
Things in tanks
Fish, spiders, reptiles, gerbils and other creatures that are in glass or plastic homes present some additional problems.
First make sure the glass is as clean as possible, smears and fingerprints can show up in photos.
Turn off the flash and try standing slightly to one side, rather than directly in front of the subject. This can help cut down on reflections.
Ask a friend to hold up a plain coloured sheet or towel behind you, to avoid more noticeable reflections. Windows and light bulbs are the worst offenders, so if you can get someone or something to shield them from view that can really help.
Getting down to your animal’s eye level can really improve portrait taking results. Don’t be shy about sitting or laying on the floor so you can get the best angle for taking your snaps.
It is usually best to avoid flash. Not only can it startle your furry friend, it can also cause ‘red eye’ or over exposed highlights. If you can not take the picture out of doors, try to have the animal near to a window for natural light, or use pieces of white card to reflect light around your subject for less shadows.
Stepping back and zooming in on your pet will help blur the background and make toys and accessories less distracting. You can also blur the background afterwards with a photo editing program.
I hope some of these hints and tips help you to get great shots of your pets.