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Pet photography: How to capture Fido's good side

Pet photography 101

Maybe you weren't aware that pet photographers existed as a profession. Maybe you just found your calling. Maybe you've been searching for tips to take the perfect portrait of your pooch. Or perhaps you just want to browse through all the pet photos you can get your hands on. One thing is for sure though -- we've got you covered with these snapshot suggestions. With these simple steps, your pet will be as professional a portrait poser as you will be a photographer.

Cat on back

All about the angle

It's time to get down on your pet's level. You don't want photographs of Fluffy's back, now do you? This tip might seem like common sense, but it's where most people go wrong. Don't be afraid to experiment with different camera angles. Use a stool or chair to prop your pet up if he or she is shorter and you get tired of lying down or want a different vantage point.

The wonders of rewards

Classical conditioning wasn't unique to Pavlov's dogs. Humans and animals alike are more co-operative if they know they are working towards a goal. So have a treat handy to reward your pet for sitting still so long. Heck, give your family members their favorite candy for posing during the family portion of the photo shoot. Seriously, it works.

Play with color

Considering the color or design of the backdrop you are working with is important when taking photos of your pets. Matching your dog's or cat's fur to the color of a blanket, chair or wall can turn out looking extremely artistic. Conversely, make your pet pop against a patterned background or bold piece of furniture. We happen to love this photographer's color pallet and inspiration from everyday artwork.

Be cool

Listen -- if you don't normally go swimming with Harry the Hamster, don't start now. Take photographs of you being you with your cuddly friend. Walk your dog, pet your cat or feed your fish. Photos where you look forced (or are forcing your pet to do/be someone he or she isn't) look silly, not sweet.

Use Mother Nature

There's a reason postcards are always depicting scenery -- mother nature is truly amazing. So why not use the mountains, lakes, flowers, clouds, sky, grass, and trees to your advantage? Go outside to take your photos (but make sure your camera is set to the appropriate outdoor mode). No matter where you live or what the weather may be, put your backyard to good use. Not a promising forecast? Sometimes rain can provide unexpected elements you can use to your advantage, like puddles and umbrellas.

Pet photography can be fun and simple if you take the time to arrange the camera settings, backdrop, and animals. Soon enough, you'll be able to go pro.


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