Here are some of the tips and tricks Sim, our photographer, shares in the podcast. You can listen to the full podcast episode here: Ep. 5 – Behind the Tails
1. Expend your pet’s energy.
If you have a highly active pet, or one that just has a lot of energy and won’t sit still, consider helping your pet expend some energy before their photoshoot. Take them on a walk, or a run, or spend a few minutes playing with them. You want them to get out as much energy as they can so that they are more likely to sit or laze away rather than running up to you (or away from you) as you take their photos.
2. Have treats or toys on hand.
If your pet has a favorite treat or toy, hold the treat/toy in your hand to draw your pet’s attention toward the camera. Also, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a friend or family member!
3. Go with the flow.
If your pet isn’t cooperating, let it go.
Instead of trying to move them into a certain pose, just work with what your pet wants to do. This might mean that you might have to chase your pet to get a good shot, or you might need to lie down on the floor.
Sim has had many a times where she’s had to chase after a dog to snap some photos. Once, our adoptable dog Bane just sat on top of her! Sim just had to lie down and take her photos. Don’t wait for an uncooperative pet to sit still. Work with their energy and their laziness.
There are many ways you can take pet photos!
4. Take MANY shots.
If your camera can take multiple shots in a row, use that to your advantage. Pets are always in motion, so out of the ten shots you take, you may only get one good shot. It’s always safer to take too many photos than too little!
Sometimes, we just have to scrap the photos and start over again!
5. Train your pets!
It might take a while, but you can train your pet to become more photo-friendly. Like any other training behavior, associate the click of your camera to a treat or award. This way, your pet will learn that camera time equals treat time (if they do a good job)!
6. Cats vs. Dogs
Depending on which pet you have, taking photos of a cat may provide different challenges in comparison to a dog, or vice versa. Cats do tend to sit and laze around more but you might find it difficult for them to look straight at the camera. It may also be hard for you to get shots of your cat doing anything else but sitting! Make sure to use cat treats or cat toys to gain your cat’s attention!
Dogs on the other hand, seem to have just too much energy to spare. You’ll most likely have more than enough variation in your photos when taking pictures of your dogs. The challenge, however, is making sure those shots don’t come out blurry because your dogs are moving around too much. Make sure to take multiple shots!
If you have any other tips and tricks for taking photos of your pets or animal photography in general, share in the comments. We would love to learn from you as well!
Sim Kaur joined Valley Animal Center at the end of March 2021 as the Web and Graphic Designer. She showcases the stories of animals through photos. Her goal is to help find furever homes for the animals through the use of social media and various other creative projects.