How to Take the Perfect Pet Portrait

Photographing your pets is all about capturing their unique personality. Below are some hand hints to create the best pet photography.

Picking the Perfect Kit

Lenses - Depending on what you want out of your pet portraiture, there are a number of different lenses that are perfect for the job. Using a wide-angle lens will offer you a broader perspective of scene; a telephoto lens will let you shoot from more of a distance making it less distracting for your pets allowing you to get a more natural shot of your pet; or using a macro lens will help capture extremely sharp details in your photos.

Lighting - Using an off-camera flash like the Kenro Mini Speedflash will help in lower-level environments or if you're wanting to add a bit more drama with lighting in your scene. However, for many animals, using a flash can be startling and distracting and you might want a bit more of a permanent lighting set up. Make the most of your scene using lamps or daylight or using a static light like the Kenro Smart Lite Bi-Colour Compact LED Video Light.

Filters - Making sure you have the correct filter is also key in creating the perfect shot. Using a UV filter will help prevent your imagery from turning out hazy if you're shooting outdoors; or try using a macro filter to enhance your imagery and close-up shots. For more info on choosing the right lens filters, have a read of our Buying Guide.

Cleaning Kit - The Kenro Magic Cleaning Cloth will be your best friend if you have an overly inquisitive pet around your equipment. It's important to keep your gear as clean as possible to avoid lens smudges and hazy images.

Before You Start Shooting

Unless they're impeccably trained, most pets will be reluctant to do exactly what you want for the perfect shot, but some here are some handy tips to help.

Tire Them Out - A tired pet is a good pet when it comes to photography (unless you're looking for an action shot of course). They'll typically sit for longer and won't get distracted as easily if they're a little bit tired. Give them a good run, fly, gallop before your photo session.

Bring Toys & Treats - Not only will having a distraction of toys and treats help with getting your pet to move in the position you want, but they also offer up a great element in your photography scene.

Stage The Scene - Get your environment looking how you want before you start, make sure there are no distracting elements in the background and any little props are in or out of the way before adding your pet to the scene.

Get Some Inspiration - Check Instagram or Pinterest for some great inspiration; the kind of poses you may want your pet to be in or the types of backgrounds you could use. Try and put your own twist on them to show your own personal style, and your pets' personality. Have a look at @emilyabrahams.photography or @wieselblitz on Instagram, they have some great pet portrait ideas.

Camera Settings and Set-Up

Before you start your pet photoshoot, it's important to work out what kind of camera settings you'll need before you start shooting. Here's a couple of handy tips that might work for you:

Burst Mode & Continuous Focus - Using these two settings will make your job so much easier as timing the perfect shot can be hard with a wiggly pet. Burst mode will allow you to shoot multiple continuous shots and hopefully in there is the perfect one. Continuous focus will make sure that your subject is always in focus, moving the focus with the subject so what could be the perfect shot won't come out blurry.

Faster Shutter Speed - You'll need to use a faster shutter speed (unless you're looking for a blurred effect in your final imagery) in order to capture those split-second moments of still. However, it's important to consider your lighting choices when using a faster shutter speed.

All About Perspective - Changing up your perspective is one simple way to keep your photography interesting and eye-catching. Most people with a camera or smart-phone will shoot at their eye level, but getting down on the ground or shooting them from directly above with different compositions will enable you to create a much more interesting shot.

Once you've got all these little tweaks and set ups in place, you're ready to start shooting! Remember to make it fun for your pet and for you, and you'll come away with some amazing photography!

Don't forget to share your pet portraiture with us at Kenro, using the #kenro or tagging us on Facebook or Instagram if you'd like to get featured.

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