Think about the personality of your pet The best way is to try to capture a cat or a dog at the moment when they are showing their personality. If you have a lazy couch pet, try to take a picture of them in their sleep. On the other hand, of you have a “hyper” dog or cat at home, take their favourite toy and try taking a picture of them in action. The easiest way how to capture a dog in action is to take picture of them when they are coming back to you with a fetch. The easiest portrait is then before you throw a fetch or a treat. That’s the reason why it is a good idea to take a friend with you, who will take care of the activity with the dog. Since you might have too little hands for throwing fetch or drawing their attention by a treat and taking pictures :).
Be on the same level with the animal My favourite pictures of pets were created just like this, when I was lying in front of them on the floor. This will give you and your viewer a better look on the life of a dog or a cat. If you are outside, maybe you will get a little bit dirty, but the results are usually worth it.
Use correct lighting and settings Usually, the same light that is flattering for humans is good for cats and dogs as well. The best option is for sure a natural source of light. In cats, the light source is usually a window, in dogs, it is the sun. Around noon, you will have to deal with high contrast, which can be an issue especially when taking pictures of black dogs. That’s why it is better to find a shady corner for shooting. When taking photographs of movement, don’t forget to set a sufficiently short time of the shutter. You can get advice also in the article "When and where to photograph".
Be patient You can use the series of several pictures in a second and hope, that you will capture the right moment, but the greater practice you will have in taking pictures of your pets, the less you will need this method. It pays off to be patient and to wait for the right moment. It helps to anticipate, what your pet will do and to press the shutter release at the right moment. Don’t expect to get a perfect shot on a first try, just photograph away, until you manage to take a perfect picture. And if not one photograph turns out well, don’t let yourself be discouraged and try it again later.
Be creative and have fun Play with your pet and try to focus their attention on the lens. Use toys or treats to for this. Play with the background and lighting, for example, try to take pictures at sundown or in a shady room, where a streak of light is heading in through the window. Try using a wide-angle lens or a fish eye.
How are your picture taking skill when it comes to your pets? Have you been to a class? Share your fun stories from shooting!