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  • Grace Williamson

Why I Love... Pet Photography

Who loves their pets? Raise your hand!

Pets are just like family members. They can be cute and cuddly, independent, unusual... And each have their own personality.

I love taking photos of people's pets. Small creatures like bunnies, guinea pigs, rodents, snakes, lizards, and fish are easier (in theory) to photograph as you can keep them in smaller enclosures and handle them a bit easier.

Dogs and cats are more independent and tend to have bigger personalities. Don't get me wrong - I'm sure every chinchilla/gerbil/bearded dragon owner will know their pets like the back of their hand! Dogs and cats are more domesticated and so more likely to be at ease around people.

I adore capturing the animals' personalities and expressions, and following them around to see what they get up to. Posed shots are nice, but candid ones can be hilarious!

Pets are simply an extension of the family for most people. They deserve to have their lives documented the same way.

Techniques for pet photography include:

Fast Shutter Speed, Higher ISO, Wider Aperture

A fast shutter speed of at least 1/250 is very useful, especially when trying to capture action shots like dogs running! Motion blur is generally a no-no when trying to get decent portraits. When using a fast shutter speed, you will need to up the ISO or widen the aperture to get the exposure correct. Balancing these three is essential.

Shallow DOF

As with human portraits, a shallow depth of field isolates the subject from the background and brings the focus on what you want.

Natural Light

Flash can startle some animals, so using natural light from windows is a good way to get directional light without flash. It is controllable, softer, and pets are used to it. Outdoor lighting on a hazy or overcast day is another good option

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