The internet is full of pet photos and many of them are just so good, funny and adorable.
But try taking a photo yourself and it just never comes out right…
There is a saying that goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”. We have all heard it before, but do you really understand its meaning? Without going into an hour-long lecture on philosophy and the deeper meaning of the phrase, I will simplify it.
The purpose of taking a picture is not only to capture a moment, but it is also to capture the emotion that was felt in that moment. It should evoke some type of emotional response in anyone who views it later as well.
Now ask yourself these questions, do your photos make you feel some kind of emotion? Are you able to feel the emotion that was captured at that moment? If you have answered ‘No’ to these questions, then you need to up that photography game.
One on one chat with a professional
We asked professional pet and equine photographer, Sherri Levey of Sherri Levey Photography, to give us some guidance on what we can all do to improve the quality of our images.
Sherri: Before anyone panics and says that they are not a professional photographer, or I don’t have a fancy camera. I want you to take a step back and look at the “extension of your hand” aka your cell phone. You have all the tools you need right there.
Here are some tips and tricks that I can guarantee will help to improve your photos instantly.
1. Use Natural Light
This will do wonders for your image quality. If you can take a picture outside, then do so. Try to avoid having the pet facing the sun as this will cause them to squint and close their eyes. If the sun is directly behind them it will cause your image to be overexposed and too bright. Always have the sun more toward the hind side of the pet.
If you cannot go outside to take the photo, no issues either. Then simply open the curtains and allow in as much natural light as you can do and follow the same principles.
2. Do not use your flash
This can startle the pet which is the last thing you want. It will also cause their eyes to have that bright flashlight colour in your pictures. No one wants to see their fluff ball looking like a zombie.
3. Get down to your pet’s level
Yes, you may have to sit on the ground or lay on the floor to do this. The pet will be more relaxed as you are now at “their” level, less threatening really. It will allow you to capture stunning angles of the pet rather than a shot taken from above looking down at them.
4. Highlight their unique character
You will know this best as you get to know the pet you are sitting. Capture pictures of the pet doing what they are best known for. As an example, you might have a pet who sits up on his hind legs to ask for a treat, capture that. Maybe it’s a picture of them asleep with their favourite toy.
Use a toy or a treat to hold their focus and get them to look at the camera.
6. Focus on their eyes
Most smartphones will allow you to touch the screen on the area that you want your focus to be set to. Always aim for the eyes when doing this, clear eyes are captivating and tell a story.
7. Pay attention to your background
You want the pet to be the center of attention in your photo, so try to make sure that the background is not too busy. A clean area free from clutter looks best.
8. Timing is important
Timing is very important try get the pet to ‘smile’, also remember an active dog is a happy dog. Get a picture of the pet after playing a game of fetch, or maybe after a walk. Catch them in their happiest and most relaxed state to get the best “happy” photos.
9. Take more pictures
Don’t be in a rush, be patient and calm and the pet will relax. Always take more pictures than the amount you would usually take, this way you will have options of what to send.