Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tips for Taking Photos of Your Pet for a Portrait

Beautiful day in Philadelphia! And John and I are celebrating our 36th wedding anniversary. I'm a lucky girl. I was thinking about a post of Q and A for portraits, being that I've answered a lot of questions from so many wonderful animal lovers, who have commissioned me. But the number 1 "Q" is "How do I get a decent photo of my dog?" (Cats seem to make better models!)

Here's a few of my hints:

1. Take a LOT of photos. Many dogs change their spots when the camera comes out. Otto gets VERY VERY serious. Some look sad, or frightened or disturbed. So you probably won't get to take a shot or 2 and have it turn out. Others are so curious, they just come up and sniff the camera, especially if you are doing #2 on my list.

2. Get down on or near their face level. It's easier if they're on a couch or a bed.

3. Don't use flash. Get outside in the early morning for a nice soft light that will cast interesting shadows on their features and show their colors true. Or snap them near a window.

4. Don't worry about getting everything you want in one shot. If you like a pose, but his eyes are shut, that's okay. I take what I need from a variety of photos. Face from this one, pose from this one, tail from this one, coloring from this one.

5. Don't worry about what's in the background, I promise I won't include the trashcan or hubby's sneakers!

6. Some ideas: Put them in the car. They will be distracted hanging out the window looking at everything outdoors, and have a natural, interested look. This is a great spot to take a bunch of facial shots. Get a buddy to talk and play with them while you shoot the photos. Put them in a chair. On a bench. In the back of the truck. Take a shot of them asleep. Or just as they are waking up.

7. Again, take a LOT of shots. It's my job to put them all together!

Do you have some great tips for photographing dogs? Share them with us! If you haven't stopped by my portrait website, please do. It's http://robinzebley.com

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