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Young kitten sitting on het scratching pad

Tips for photographing your pets at home for kick ass images

Most of my pet photography sessions occur at a beautiful outdoor location or at my home studio.  However, occasionally I get a request for the photo session to take place at the family home of the pet owner.  This is because the pet cannot leave the home or the owner prefers the home environment because it is familiar.

Cat photography is usually done at the client’s home. In addition, legacy sessions, where I take photos of a dog in it’s final stages of life, are in most cases done at home.

If most pets are like me, there is no place like home.

If you cannot get out to a professional pet photographer, here are some hints for photographing your pet at home and getting the perfect image.

How do you prepare for an at home pet photography session?

  • Light is the most important aspect of your photos and window light is beautiful and soft. Good lighting is the key to transforming your photography and will really make your pet shine.  So set up in a room that has a large window, especially if you do not have flash or your photographer is a natural light photographer.
  • If you are shooting outdoors, I recommend ‘golden hour’ for the best time to shoot your pet portraits. Golden hour occurs in the early morning and late afternoon when the light is diffused and low to the horizon.
  • Backgrounds should be simple and minimalist. Make sure that your room is tidy and free from clutter.  Remove any distractions by placing unnecessary things away.
  • Be prepared for the photographer to move furniture around, particularly if it proves to be a distraction.
  • Try to set up your own quasi-studio by making yourself a plain background using black or white paper to photograph your pets against. You will get the same effect with a plain colour wall.  Stand them a couple of metres away to avoid casting a shadows on the background.
  • Do not forget to get your dog or cat bathed and groomed up to three days before the photo shoot.

Kitten on top of furniture

More tips for photographing your pets at home

  • Keeping your pockets full of pet’s favourite treats and toys as these will help you hold their attention while you capture their natural expressions. Reward them if you are taking many pictures to ensure they remain captive.
  • Remember to get down low and try to photograph your pets at their eye-level to capture the world they live in from their unique perspective. This will give you a more interesting feel to your images. Do not rule out shooting from a high angle too.

Two dogs pose

  • Make sure that you have plenty of patience when photographing your pets especially during those times where your pet is super active. There will be times where you just need to wait on him to become settled for still shots

Don’t forget to introduce the camera to your pets and allow them to get used to it before you take your images.  If you familiarise them with the sounds and look of the camera well in advance of you pet session you will be rewarded with some great shots.

That’s it!!  Now enjoy your pet photography session or taking some great images of your pets.

If you would like to inquire about an at home pet photography session in or around Canberra and surrounding areas, please feel free to contact me. I would love to come over and meet your dogs or cats and create some timeless memories.

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