Guest Blog by: Jenna Wilke
Let’s face it. Your pets get treated as well, if not better, than your children. So its
no surprise that we want to show off pictures of our furry friends to everyone. Be it on
Facebook, Instagram, or just your wallet photos, you’re proud to flaunt those cute
pictures of Fluffy.
So how do you get the best pictures of your pet? While fancy SLR cameras offer
beautiful pictures, they’re not required to capture the perfect moment with your pet.
Here are a few tips to help you snap great pictures with a simple point and shoot, or
even your handy camera phone!
See eye to eye. All too often, people take pictures of their pets looking down at
them. It’s something most pet owners don’t think twice about – because, after all, you do
spend most of your time seeing them from that angle. However, this angle creates
foreshortening in your picture, causing the proportions to distort. The picture you snap
will not capture the accurate adorable face that you love so much!
To avoid this, sit or kneel in front of your pet on the ground. If you have a smaller
dog or cat, have them sit on a couch or chair, and then snap your shot. Taking pictures
from their height is bound to yield a better – I mean cuter – picture of Fluffy.
Looking down at the dog (left) creates strange proportions. Looking straight at
their face (right) makes them look more realistic and happy.
Use Natural Light. Another common mistake is flash and indoor photography.
The are several factors that come into play here.
When you photograph inside, you are relying on one or more light sources.
Whether its a lamp or overhead light, chances are that they are altering the color of your
picture. Fluorescent lighting makes your picture look cold, while incandescent lights
make the picture very warm.
To compensate for dim lighting, your camera will probably turn on an auto-flash
setting. This comes in handy when you want capture a split second of Fluffy wearing
that ridiculous cowboy costume you bought him. However, flash is generally going to
yield an unflattering picture of your pet. Flash washes out color, and often eliminates
important details, like the texture of their fur. Lastly, and most importantly, flash
produces red eye on your subject. While a pet’s ‘red eye’ looks more like a green/grey, it
still flattens the eye and blocks their true eye color.
Using a flash (left) creates strange eye color due to glare. It also flattens the face by
eliminating shadows, and alters color. Shooting in natural light (right) creates nice
Whenever possible, use natural light. Sit outside with your pet. Have them face
the sun – or at least face away from shadows. If you have a pet that can’t go outside, like
an indoor cat, have them sit beside a window with lots of light.
Capture their personality. If Fluffy would rather snooze on the couch all day
than go for a hike, than the couch might be a fitting place to photograph him. On the
other hand, if Fluffy enjoys a good romp at the dog park, an outdoor scene would make a
better photo of him. The important thing to remember is to let the photo depict your
Consider using props, like their favorite toys or blankets, to include in the
picture. On the other hand, consider the picture as a whole, and avoid having excess or
unnecessary objects in the picture. Having too many things in your picture makes it
distracting for the viewer to focus on your pet.
About the Author:
Jenna Wilke has been devoting her creativity to pet portraiture for many years. Jenna
relies on dynamic pet photography to create beautiful hand drawn or painted works of
art for pet owners all over the country. As a lifelong pet owner herself, she understands
the true value and sentiment of the “perfect” pet photo.
Visit her website, www.imaginealltheart.com to view her portfolio of commissioned pet
portraits. Please visit Jenna on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/imaginealltheart