How To Photograph Your Pet


The holiday season is in full swing, and you know what that means: photographing your pets for holiday cards! To help you get the best shots of your adorable animal, Paw Nation spoke with fine-art pet photographer Brooke Jacobs, whose sweet, soulful portraits of cats and dogs are featured on and exhibited in art galleries.”It’s all about the love of the animal,” Jacobs tells Paw Nation. That, coupled with some tricks of the trade, will ensure you get the perfect shot of your pet.

Here are Jacobs’ top five tips:

Prepare early. Groom your pet ahead of time, at least a day before, to ensure you like how your dog’s hair has been cut at the groomer’s and your cat’s fur is nicely brushed. If you plan to use costumes or bows, have those on hand and make sure your pet is comfortable wearing them.

Use natural lighting. Photographing with flash or in direct sunlight is too harsh, so opt for a spot that has lots of natural lighting. Near a window or outside in a shady area is ideal. When shooting outdoors, a cloudy day provides the best lighting.

Get down to your pet’s eye level. “The angle is a big one,” says Jacobs. Get down on the floor with your pet, or place your animal on a chair or couch. “Start at eye-level, then play around with it by going up, down, or to the left or right,” Jacobs says.

Use treats, toys and noises. Cats like it quiet, Jacobs says, but dogs often respond to noises that will get them to look right into the camera or cock their heads. Use a squeaky toy, shake a bag of treats over your head or make weird noises. “Sometimes, I’ll sing opera or make clucking noises,” says Jacobs. “Just keep shooting.” Try not to get your pet overly excited, though, and reward your pet throughout the photo session. “Even if they’re doing a ‘bad’ job, I always tell them they’re doing great,” Jacobs says.

Have patience. “People might want to get the perfect shot in five minutes, but it doesn’t work that way,” says Jacobs. Allot about a half hour and have fun with it and stay relaxed, she says, noting that it can be a good bonding time with your pet.

“It can be frustrating if an animal moves around a lot, but sometimes their idea is much cuter than what you originally set out to do,” Jacobs says. Case in point? Henry the pug (pictured above) who got bored and laid down with a poinsettia around his neck. “I knew that was the shot,” Jacobs laughs.



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