How to Photograph Your Pet

Everyone loves taking snapshots of their beloved pet. In order to get the best snapshot of your pet, or any animal in general, follow these simple rules.

  1. Focus on the eye. When you are focusing on your pet, focus in their eyes. This is especially true when using a large aperture where the rest of their body might be out of focus – the key item you need to capture is their eyes, because that’s the first thing viewers will look at.
  2. Get down to their level. When photographing animals, it’s not very exciting to photograph them from four feet above them. Get down to their level and see the surroundings as they see it. It’s much more dramatic that way.
  3. Don’t corner them. When composing or cropping the shot, make sure they are walking into the picture, and not out of the picture. So if they are walking left to right, make sure they have some empty space on the right side of the picture for them to “virtually” walk into, otherwise it will seem out of sorts.
  4. Crop close. Although this rule can be broken often, especially if you want to capture more of the surroundings or more of the action, a close composition more often than not has more impact.

Here is an example of breaking the rules with an animal. It’s not my pet, but you’ll see that the focus is not on the eyes. The picture was taken slightly higher than the animal. The animal is also trying to walk outside the frame, and has no room in front of him. This gives the picture an unnatural feeling.

Bad Duck

Figure 1: Bad animal picture

Here’s a better picture. The shot was taken closer to the eye level of the bird. The focus was done at the animal’s eye. The animal is walking into the picture, and not out of the frame, giving a more natural feel. The picture was cropped close enough to show the details of the animal, but not so close as to give it a “trapped” feeling.
Good seagullFigure 2: Better image