SPCA 2022 Calendar Competition: Jo Moore Photographer's top tips revealed!
Very few pets have been trained for TV or commercial photo shoots. It may take a while for your dog to sit, stay, or do the trick you really want. A cat is most likely to do whatever it wants - often the opposite of what you are hoping for. If you get stressed out or angry, then your pet will too. Many animals (especially smaller animals like rabbits) will see something like a camera lens or shiny phone as a big eye staring at them. It can be intimidating for them so take it slowly. If your pet seems stressed, stop and try a bit later.
2. Think about light
Do you want to photograph your pet in moody shadows, bright sunshine, indoors or outside? Think about the photo you are hoping to capture and play around with different light sources.
3. Do you want a closeup or environmental portrait?
Does your pet have AMAZING eyes? Or do they look very regal standing in a certain area? Try getting close up to your pet (as close as they are comfortable with that is) and then moving backwards taking photos as you go. Your pet does not need to take up lots of the frame all the time - sometimes they can take up the whole frame or be far away too! Have fun, play around - be creative!
4. What is happening in your background?
You can take a gorgeous portrait of your pet and then realise there is something not so beautiful in the background like your recycling bins or a pile of washing! Always have one eye out for everything that will be in the image - it's easier to take it out or move positions before you take the photo, then to try and crop it out afterwards.
Do you have a cool chair your pet likes to sit on? Some beautiful material? A box that your cat wants to play in? Just make sure the prop doesn't become the main focus point of the image. That should always be your pet.
6. Lastly and most importantly.... safety!
If you are photographing your dog in a public, dog friendly space, always keep an eye out for other dogs and people. When you have a camera up to your face or are looking at the back of your phone it's not always easy to see other dogs coming. You don't want to be knocked over by an over enthusiastic pup running to meet yours. Likewise you need to be in control of your dog - you don't want them suddenly taking off to another dog before you realise what is happening. Don't put any of your pets in positions where they may be uncomfortable or have the potential to get injured. A photo isn't worth a trip to the vet or having to regain the trust of your pet because you pushed them out of their comfort zone.