If you have a pet, you have an instant model. They're funny, frustrating, and loving. They're natural born actors. Each pet has it's own unique personality and relationship with you.
Opie, captured above, is an energetic french bulldog with a big personality. He's also a very small dog. To capture Opie's personality this photo was taken with a wide angle lens from below. An off camera flash was used to provide modeling light for Opie's dark fur and provide a nice catch light for the eyes. Opie's hero's pose now makes him seem as big as he thinks he is.
In this blog we'll discuss some ideas on how to improve your pet portraits using one or more of the following techniques:
Cropping for Impact
By cropping your photo you can focus the viewers eye on what's important in the image. In the photo of Champ and Tyson, the tight crop forces the viewers eye to focus on tug of war over the ball.
Telephoto vs Wide Angle
Wide angle lenses help to provide context and elongate proportions. In the first image below the wide angle lens, combined with a low shooting angle elongates Champ's front legs, makes his toy seem larger, and provides context of where he's sitting. In the second image a long lens compresses space and shortens perspective, isolating Champ in the grass.
Shooting from Different Perspectives
Why shoot boring photos when you can change your shooting angle and provide a unique perspective. Shoot from below, from above, or up close. Experiment!
Off Camera Flash
Off camera flash can significantly enhance your photo. In both instances below the flash mimics the feeling of sunshine coming through a window. The flash also provides a nice catch light for the eyes and adds drama to the shot.
Fast or slow shutter speed, that is the question. Well each has a purpose. With a slower shutter speed and panning the camera you get a better sense of the animal's movement. Using a fast shutter speed you capture precise moment of the event. Take your pick.
Special moments can happen at any moment. The question is, will you be ready. If you don't have your camera, you can't take the shot!
Thought for the Day
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” John Grogan, author of "Marley and Me"
Eric David is a visual artist / fine art photographer that lives and works in Toronto.