Today, I am honored to have featured guest blogger, Sonia Charry, join us to share some great tips on how to get the best photos of your pet. As many of you know, I am constantly taking pictures of my three dogs. I thought Sonia’s tips were excellent. Sonia is a proud dog mom and dog blogger. You can see many of her amazing photos on her blog Big Dog Blog at PawPosse.com.
A proud pet parent can never have too many photos of their pet. Sometimes, what should be the perfect photo turns out blurry or featuring scary pet eyes. Luckily, 7 simple tips will help you get plenty of photos you’ll love.
1) Always have your camera handy.
One trick of professional photographers: Take lots of photos. The more you take, the better your chances are of getting a great one. It’s easier to do when your camera is always handy.
The other benefit: You’ll get natural photos of your pet more easily. Does your dog sleep in a funny position? Does your cat look especially graceful in her favorite stretch? With a camera at hand, you can quickly reach for it and snap photos without getting up and distracting them from the perfect pose.
2) Get familiar with your camera’s settings.
Photos come out blurry when your pet moves faster than the camera snaps the photo. Today, even basic digital cameras and cameras on phones include settings that allow you to take photos with faster snaps (or “exposures”) to reduce the chance of blurriness. Check your camera’s settings to see if it has a pet or sports setting. These settings are automatically set to take shorter exposures and get better photos of movement.
3) Use commands and bribes.
If you still get blurry photos, try getting your pet to sit still. Tell your dog to sit and stay, or hold a piece of tuna near the camera to get your cat to focus. It may not be a completely candid shot, but you’ll still get a great photo of your pet. You can see in the photo of my dog Nala that though I told her to sit and stay, her personality still shines through.
4) Get outside.
Natural light is by far the best for photographs. Flash sometimes distorts natural colors, creates distracting shadows, and makes pet eyes to look terrifying. Natural light, on the other hand, lights up the entire shot and keeps eyes looking natural. For the best lighting, have the sun at your back and your pet facing the light. Just beware of your own shadow blocking your pet.
5) Learn the basics of photo editing.
Sometimes one flaw is all that stands between you and great photo. Before you say “Photoshop is too complicated,” know this: it’s not that hard or expensive. While official Adobe Photoshop software can set you back a few hundred bucks, GIMP is a free alternative that I’ve been using happily for years. I learned how to use it by searching online for GIMP tutorial and found a treasure trove of help.
For example: Sometimes you can’t avoid taking a shot indoors with flash and your pet ends up with demon eyes. I searched for “GIMP tutorial fix pet eyes” and found this free step-by-step video tutorial. It was easy – 2 minutes and my photo was saved.
6) Practice cropping.
Cropping makes a huge difference in photos. Photographers often cite the Rule of Thirds, which creates a tic-tac-toe grid across photos and puts points of interest where gridlines intersect. The photo of Nala above is a testament to how powerful this idea is. Take a look at the original, then the Rule of Thirds at work:
It’s a mess. My shadow is blocking a big part of the photo, Nala is oddly off-centered, and nothing aligns to the grid except my shadow. Ugh.
Now, take a look at it after cropping with the Rule of Thirds applied:
Suddenly, your eyes are drawn to her face at an intersection point. The sky looks more dramatic now that it covers two-thirds of the background. My shadow is no longer ruining the photo.
Cropping works wonders.
7) Take a different angle.
Pictures get boring when you’re always pointing your lens down at your pet. If your cat is perched high up, kneel down and shoot upwards to get a sense of height in your photo. If your dog is laying at someone’s feet, get your camera close to the floor and capture the dog with just the person’s feet, not their whole body, to frame it from your dog’s perspective. Mix it up.
The best part of photography is that there’s no one right way to do it. Come up with crazy ideas and try them all. Some of my favorite photos are ones I never thought would come out well. Use these 7 tips to make the most of your photos so you’ll have lasting images you’ll treasure.
This guest post comes from Sonia Charry, a proud dog mom who has more photos of her dog than of her husband. Many of these photos end up on her Big Dog Blog at PawPosse.com. If you’d like to have Sonia guest post for you, contact her at info[at]pawposse[dot]com.
I’ve been finding some great blogs lately. Most I found through other bloggers who shared a list of their favorite bloggers on their blogs.
All I can say is there are some really awesome people out there doing some really great things!
I thought I would take a twist on this common practice (of sharing favorite blogs and bloggers) and share my favorite blog posts (not all animal related). Each of them was chosen for the powerful message they had to share. I hope you find them to be inspirational, thought-provoking and informative.
Top 10 Favorite and Most Powerful Blog Posts:
1. A Social Media (and Life) Lesson I Learned From My 12-Year-Old: This one comes via Brian K. McDaniel (@bkmacdaddy on Twitter). I love this blog post because of the universal message it has for us all (whether you are a social media person or not).
3. Fear of shipping:Seth Godin is known worldwide (if you haven’t heard of him you will want to check him out). This post spoke to me because as a small business owner, I often have to face my own fears and overcome them. I think his insight applies to everyone and anyone who has let fear stop them from doing what they were meant to do.
4. Magnet word poetry pulls a family together: Kakie Fitzsimmons is a mom, an author, a blogger and social media expert. This post was more visual, but the message was powerful. Another great post on her blog is Is your home a soft place to land?
5. Let’s be fair: Mary Doane is a dog owner, turtle expert, and nature educator. She also created and runs Project Nature. Mary took in her first foster dog, a fearful dog named Aaron, this year. Her commentary on shelter dogs and purebred dogs is powerful and yet reads like poetry at times.
6. Last Night I Dreamt of Snow Anyone who is a pet owner knows how hard it can be when they get sick or it is time to say goodbye. Jasper Roo and his Dad are blogging about his journey through cancer and dealing with the inevitable moment when it will be time to say goodbye. It is powerful and raw and worth reading. Make sure you also check out Jasper’s professional photos as taken by SaraBeth Photography. Stunning stuff.
8. Your Dog Won’t Hate You. This I know.: This post comes from Edie Jarolim at Will My Dog Hate Me. It struck a chord with me not only because how sad the woman was in the e-mail Edie shared, but by the comments left by the people who read this post. There is compassion in this world. I read it here.
9. Breeding Dogs vs. The Horrors of Inbreeding: This post opened my eyes to the world of dog breeding and dog shows in a way it had not been before. I was so amazed at the information Kim Clune shared in this post that I had to go out and watch the whole BBC series: Pedigree Dogs Exposed. I think every dog owner should read this post and watch the videos before getting their next dog.
10. The Richest Man I Knew: I don’t know much about the blogger of In The Boat, but I like the positive message he is trying to share on his blog – Human Beings And Be-ing Humane. I like that. Given the economic turmoil our country continues to experience, this blog post was one of my favorites this year.
11. I lied there’s one more. Life is One Continuous Mistake Patricia McConnell is a wise animal behaviorist and dog trainer. Her willingness to share her own knowledge and experiences with her dogs is amazing. This post is powerful because it had a message for me. I hope you will find your own message as you read it.