Cymon Brooks* shares his tips on capturing the perfect photo of your four-legged friend.
Pets are such a joy, and we are blessed to have a companion that not only listens to all our gripes, but one that loves us for its lifetime. Often, we want to capture these moments in lasting memories, and what better way than to grab your camera and get some snaps?
The problem? Well, many pets are camera-shy or won’t cooperate when it comes to getting good pics. The good news is that I can give you some advice so you can take that picture that takes centre place on your wall.
First things first: Remember the words ’chew toys’, ’tennis balls’ and ’rewards’. You can use all these things to convince your pet to cooperate. In this shot that I took of my dog Lizzy, I had her favourite bed and chew toys arranged on a couch. I spent a few minutes just playing tug of war as she settled into her bed and was then able to capture this shot.
You can capture the perfect pic of your pet in a studio setup, on an early-morning beach run, out in the backyard or while they’re playing in open fields. Consider the lighting and time of day (especially during an outdoor shoot), and ask yourself what you want the end result to be. Do you want an action shot or a portrait? Surf the web for pet pictures first; this will feed your inspiration.
Another strategy is to work with someone else as they take photos from behind you. Ask them to focus on your pet and crop you out, or get an interactive photo while you are playing with your pet. This is particularly important when you’re trying to capture your cat’s regal expression through the lens.
Equipment: Lots of our pets move fast, so it is helpful to have a lens that can be used over a fair distance (70–200 mm range is standard). Because Lizzie is still a puppy and is becoming used to the camera, I used a 24–70 mm lens so I was closer to her. I also used manual settings on the flash as I don’t want the full burst of flash light that can wash out too many subtle tones.
It takes patience to capture the perfect photo of your pet, but it helps to remember that your pet is more interested in you than the lens, so play with them and this will alleviate any distress or shyness they may experience. In the past I have spent more than an hour taking the ideal photo of pets, and I can tell you that patience pays off.
Happy snapping and have fun bonding with your furry pal.
*A collection of Cymon Brooks’ images has been published in a devotional book, Vision, by Salvo Publishing. Available for $25 p.p. from www.salvationarmy.org.au/supplies.