More technical pet photography tips.
Here are a few more things to consider when using animals as the subject matter of your photos.
Use a fast shutter speed.
“Dogs are frenetic — they’re always going to be moving around,” Davidson explains. “So, knowing your equipment really well is crucial.” It’s unlikely pets will ever sit as still as human subjects for a portrait, so you almost have to treat sessions with animals as though you’re capturing action shots. By using a faster shutter speed you’ll be able to freeze motion better to get quality shots before the dog, cat, or any other animal needs to scratch, stretch, or take a lap.
Understand your lighting.
How lighting affects a portrait — or any photo — is a variable all photographers must deal with, but when photographing animals of differing fur colors, it can get more complicated. Fur absorbs light differently than human skin. “Shooting in low light with a dark-colored dog can be a total nightmare, so consider the time of day, amount of shade, and your location,” Davidson suggests. If you opt to use a strobe flash instead of natural light, you need to consider your subject’s potential reaction. “We’ve had a lot of dogs with PTSD from Hurricane Harvey come in,” Arouty explains. “The flash of light is very frightening for a lot of dogs.”
Don’t use flash.
An additional great pet photography tip is to try to avoid using flash — especially with kittens. It could actually scare them to the point of running away and might even damage their delicate eyes. With young cat photography, you can get the lighting you need and avoid using flash by opening the aperture. You can also lower the shutter speed and increase the ISO value to increase light sensitivity without bothering momma or her kittens.