As we discovered a few weeks ago, if you’re pet owner, your camera is likely filled with photos of your furry friends. Looking back at the shots, do you think you captured the right moments? Was your cat looking away just as you pressed the trigger, or does your dog look less adorable in photos than in real life?
These are common problems faced by hobby photographers. Unfortunately, animals are often a moving target and can be difficult to control.
To achieve better results, having the right equipment helps. The Nikon D3200, for example, is the perfect companion for the job. It can easily capture the everyday moments of family life with beautiful pictures and cinematic quality movies.
However, the best equipment in the world is not going to help you if you can’t control your bundle of joy. That’s why we drafted in international award winning pet and animal photographer Carli Davidson to provide you with some tips and tricks to capture pets in the best light.
Make pets love the camera
“Let them sniff it and lick it. Hold it below them so that the camera becomes less intimidating. Reward them with treats when they approach it and show interest, but remember to protect your lens from slobber with a filter.”
Make sure you feel positive
“Animals are intuitive, they communicate with expressions and body language, so they instinctively know if you are not in the mood to have fun, and respond accordingly. Go into the shoot ready to have a good time, and they will want to play along.”
Try to get their attention
“Hold a squeaker or a toy over your lens to get them to look into the camera. Be warned, some pets will just bolt for the toy. Also, try not to over-squeak as pets are smart and will lose interest quickly if they realise they are not rewarded for responding to the noise.”
Use trained behaviours and tricks
“This is particularly relevant for dogs, but does your pet know how to roll over? If so, take a photo of them lying on their back. Practice their ‘stay’ while you get portraits of them. They will be focusing on you for a reward and for direction, so you should be able to get some good eye contact. Also, get to know which words and sounds your pet responds to. Tapping their food bowl usually gets a reaction, and words and phrases like ‘treat’, ‘car ride’, ‘do you want to go for a walk?’ or even just their name can generate some cute head tilts and excited expressions.”
Try using props to capture different expressions
“If you are photographing a dog outside, grab a long stick and use one hand to play with your pet while shooting with the other. You will get some pretty funny faces from them trying to grab it. If you are shooting a cat, remember how much they concentrate on toys. You could try dangling a feather on a string out of frame, or throwing a ball for them to chase – this can generate some hilarious cat poses if you take the photo at just the right moment.”
Take your Nikon D3200 for a spin and try out Carli’s tricks and no doubt you will instantly see a big improvement in the quality of your pet snaps! Let us know if your pet photography has improved in the comment box below.