Falling for Great Pet Photos

Fall is a beautiful time to take priceless photos with your pets, when seasonal festivities provide a seemingly endless supply of colors, shapes, textures and activities. With a few tips and tricks in mind, you can elevate your images to a new level that really captures the essence of your pets. Whether you are shooting with a smartphone or a high-end DSLR camera, the strategies are the same for getting exceptional shots worth saving and sharing.

  1. Use natural light. When you plan a trip to your favorite pumpkin patch or fall festival, time your visit around the “golden hour” if you can. During this last hour before sunset, the soft glow of the waning sunlight will highlight your subjects beautifully. For other times of day, place your subject fully within a large, solid patch of shade (not dappled).
  2. Get lower. In most cases, you’ll want the lens of the camera at eye-level with your dog or cat. This perspective allows you to see the world the way your pet does and adds a level of intimacy to your images that are more compelling to your viewer.
  3. Focus on the eyes. For portrait-style photos, choose your pet’s eyes as the focal point. Whether you have their whole body in the frame or just a portion of it, focusing on their eyes will create depth and help your viewer connect with them.
  4. Vary your Shots. Take a variety of wide landscapes to show your location, medium shots of your pet relaxing or in action and close ups of the little details. The resulting combination of images will tell the story of your outing with interest and perspective.
  5. Use Burst mode. For action shots, look for the Burst mode on your camera or phone. This feature allows you to take a series of photos every fraction of a second. You will have outtakes to delete, but somewhere in there you will likely find a real keeper.
  6. Consider the background. If the location is busy with people, be strategic about which direction you are shooting. By using a wide aperture on a DSLR camera or portrait mode on an iPhone, you can blur the background and keep the focus on your subject.
  7. Keep it fun. If your dog loves to play in the falling leaves or tolerates costumes like a Hollywood star, go with the flow and stick with what’s working. Even if you don’t get the shot your first had in mind, you will have a happy memory of the time you spent together capturing fall photos that you can treasure forever.