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Tips for Taking Good Pet Photos

Posted by Michelle, founder of Paws pet boutique in Annapolis, MD and Pawspetboutique.com on

You may not admit it, but if you're like me the majority of the photos on your phone are of your best friends 

with fur. My Jack Russells and brave cat make me smile, so I'm always trying to capture a happy moment with them. I find that my images don't always reflect the moment, so I thought we'd touch base with Lori of Red Leash Pet Photography for some photo tips! Here's what we found out...

Q. Today cell phones are always handy to catch a quick moment you want to remember. Are there tips Ben, the mascot of Paws pet boutique, photographed by Red Leashyou could share on taking photos with cell phones and are there any apps you like to use?

A. Mobile phones today have amazing cameras and what is great is that the camera is always with you. However, these cameras still have limitations. For example, they are not very good at capturing fast moving subjects. Your best photos will be portraits where your pet is still. I recommend you fill the entire frame with your pet. Once you have the photo composed, tap the screen on your pet’s face and the camera will automatically focus and choose proper exposure. Try to photograph your pet in enough light so that you do not have to use your flash, since the flash will cause the dreaded glowing eye.

Some of my favorite apps for mobile photo processing are Snapseed, Camera+ and VSCO Cam. These apps give you the creative control to adjust exposure and colors, as well as fine-tune the details. Don’t forget to post your photos to Instagram and Facebook! And most importantly, make sure you have your photos backed up somewhere.

Q. Knowing pets can be difficult to photograph, what are some tricks you find work well to catch their attention?

A. I love photos where pets are looking right at my camera. Their eyes are so expressive and it truly is a window into their soul. But getting them to look directly into the camera is easier said than done. I find that interesting noises give me the most natural looks. Use squeaky toys (I have a bunch from Paws!) or just make a whining noise. Try not to call their name as that often makes them come to you. Sometimes I use treats, but that can produce what I like to call “treat face”, where the dog looks less relaxed. And remember, pets will bore quickly with noises so make sure you are quick with taking your photo or have a lot of different sounding noise makers on hand.

Q. When you are photographing a subject matter do you always center it in the frame or do you suggest other framing options?

A. Certain images have more visual appeal than others. This is no coincidence. Often, images that draw us in are the ones that use diagonal leading lines to draw our eye into the frame or by keeping to the “rule of thirds”. For the “rule of thirds” imagine a grid on top of your image. Try and put the important elements along one of the grid lines, or at the intersection of two lines.

Additionally, a simple change in perspective can greatly impact the emotion of an image. Shooting from a pet’s perspective makes the photo more intimate. Kneel down or even lay on the ground with your pet. 

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Thanks to Lori for these great photo taking tips! We enjoy posting images of our Paws pet boutique guests to our FacebookInstagram and Pinterest pages, so we'll put these suggestions to good use. If you have a good pet photo check out the PawsLiving Photo Share with Paws pet boutique too. Your photo may end up featured on www.pawspetboutique.com.

Bottomline though, there is nothing like having professional photos taken of your best friend. If you're like me, you'll be grateful to have a special image to cherish for your lifetime. The photo above was taken of Paws pet boutique's mascot Ben by Lori. For more information on photos by Red Leash Pet Photography based in Annapolis, Maryland, visit their website at www.redleash.com.

Thank you Lori for taking the time to share your photography insights. Happy snapping!