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Photography Troubleshooting: Pets

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 9:10 AM
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Photographing pets whether for yourself or as part of a job, is becoming increasingly popular and the demand for tips and tutorials is ever on the increase. Within this weeks article we hope to give you a few pointers and answer a few queries that might have come up. Talty asked us this...

"My camera has a pets & kids setting but they still come out blurry.
I've tried every setting, so far I've had better results with the "EASY"
setting, but they still come out only decent."


Talty is using a high end Canon Powershot which is fantastic for things like still life photography, landscapes and working up close with static options and scenery. But when it comes to photographing animals and in particular as Talty is attempting - kittens, it doesn't compensate for the difficulties such a subject poses. For example kittens are incredibly wriggly, and as Talty has found, getting them to stay still in any one place is a nightmare! So naturally you need a camera that can allow for capturing things when they are moving at speed - something with a bit of image stabilisation too. A lot of the images that one aspires too such as focused, clean animal shots, used flash. Naturally this is something that you want to avoid when photographing anything particularly young like a kitten. But there are things you can do, such as using a big fill light (a household lamp is suitable at times) and a reflector, just to cast a bit more light onto the kitten - more than you need really, to capture a better photograph.

Day 135: Sapphire by Kaz-D

In terms of technical details, to get a better shot of an animal you need to ensure that your ISO is suitable to the lighting the is surrounding it, that you have the appropriate shutter speed and that you have a good focal point. Often with something like a Canon Powershot, the camera tends to not pick out a specific focal point unless you make sure you press down the shutter button halfway and focus it in. Having a focal point that isn't the kitten, creates what appears as an out of focus shot. Check to see if your Canon has a setting for where the focal points are, often you can change this to have say, four focal points, or just one. Whilst it's not impossible to grab a clean, sharp shot with the camera you are using, it is a tough one. I appreciate you say you have a pets & kids setting but this is likely for distance work rather than going in and up close to an animal. A portrait or wide macro lens on a Digital SLR is one of the best ways of capturing animals.

Black and White by DemonMathiel

If you are using a Digital SLR then using a zoom lens and shooting from further away is often the best method to get a natural and accurate shot of an animal. Most animals are curious about the camera, but some will feel threatened by it or worried. Capturing them from further back helps them feel more at ease. Shooting on a level to an animal's face also helps - I tend to hold my hand up (with a dog treat) above the camera so that I capture my dog with his beautiful eyes gazing upwards...

Autumn Buddeh by Kaz-D


Some more general tips include keeping the eyes of your animal in focus. Eyes often are the draw in an image and they are where our eyes naturally go when looking at something. Be sure to try and focus in your animals eyes before you start shooting - you can often also capture some amazing reflections in them too. But if you have an animal that is particularly tricky to shoot because it's very wriggly and fast...just wait until it's asleep!

:bigthumb144173690:


As with all things, patience, practice and a little investment in some equipment or homemade props goes a long way to getting some fantastic shots. Ultimately though, you've got to work with the animal and achieve the best you can, sometimes the accidents can be happy ones...

Day 133: Early Morning Sunshine by Kaz-D


There are many many articles out there that tackle how best to photograph a bet - and indeed what not to do. Rather than reinvent the wheel I've put together some tutorials that I found useful - links are below!
:bulletblack: Digital Photography School's How to Photograph Pets
:bulletblack: Pet Photography Tips
:bulletblack: How to Photograph Your Dog



This week ^Talty has asked us how best to achieve shots of pets with the camera she uses. We've also included some general pet photography tips, a useful video tutorial and we've tackled ^Talty's question as best we can! If you have a burning photography related question or would like to see us write an article about something send ^Kaz-D a note! Don't forget to :+fav: the article if you enjoyed it!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmackey34:
mackey34 Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015  New member
You have really selected the suitable topic; this is one of my favorite blogs. Any Dog Rescue
Reply
:iconleftunfinished:
LeftUnfinished Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Very helpful! :D
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Glad it helped :)
Reply
:icontalty:
Talty Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012   Artisan Crafter
Wow so much great info, I read this like 5 times trying to memorize everything :o one day I shall invest in a good DSLR, for now I will use all of your tips to try to improve my photos :) I tend to leave my ISO static in 100 because that's what I use to photograph miniatures, but I will try to learn to set it in accordance to the surrounding light and maybe get a reflector and lights. Thank you so much for this! :huggle:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:D hope it helps even a little bit, but your shot of the kitten is gorgeous regardless :D
Reply
:icontalty:
Talty Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013   Artisan Crafter
It's starting to work! :D [link]
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh that is fantastic!
Reply
:iconhikarilayla:
HikariLayla Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Great...^^
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:)
Reply
:iconraph1966:
Raph1966 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Student General Artist
This'll help. :D I'm always taking candid pics of our cats...sometimes one will stay still long enough for something half decent. ^^; 98.9% of my cat photos are candid/spontaneous.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Candid is awesome, it's best to get them as naturally as possible, who wants a posing cat? :D actually hmm, that would be intriguing...
Reply
:iconraph1966:
Raph1966 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Student General Artist
Closest I got to a "posing" cat: [link] I rather prefer the candid shots myself though. Funnier. :aww:
Reply
:iconsilverimoonlight:
SilveriMoonlight Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thankyou so much for this resource, I'm using a different camera - a Nikon D800 - for my
pet shots, but there are many tips I can take away from this journal. Thankyou!
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You're welcome! I'm so glad it's useful :)
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012   General Artist
A wonderful resource. :heart: :la:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012   General Artist
:la:
Reply
:iconbleeding-magic:
Bleeding-Magic Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Student Photographer
I've had very unsuccessful attempts at trying to photograph my cat. This should really help a lot! :heart:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent I hope it helps!
Reply
:iconpsychoticchibiiusa:
PsychoticChibiiUsa Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I guess I had the fortunate experience to start photographing my girls since the day they were born, so they were so used to camera, it never fazed them XD hahahah. But yes, kitties, shoot cats in general, aren't exactly the easiest to photograph. But it's never impossible :) Treats work with them, too! As do the staffs with feathers at the ends of them :giggle: gets their attention just quick enough for a great picture :)
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
That's such a good idea :nod:
Reply
:iconwdwparksgal:
WDWParksGal Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
Good information and video. I just don't know if I can actually get some good pet pictures. The kitties will walk right up to the camera and stick their nose towards the lens. When I see them in a neat pose and grab the camera they move. I do have a Canon Power Shot but am not sure how to use all the functions!
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It's tricky that's for certain, it took me ages to get even one decent picture of a cat when I first tried!
Have a good look through your instruction manual when you have time, even google your camera and then pets alongside it to see what comes up!
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Kittens are the hardest little pets to capture in a good photograph... although i could happily sleep covered by them, when it comes to photographing, they are the cutest pain in the ass :heart:
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
They really are :D
Reply
:iconnameda:
Nameda Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
thanks :) wriggly indeed specially kittens *lol*
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:D always the way! :P
Reply
:iconnameda:
Nameda Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
I have a youngster here now 12 weeks a real mischief rowdy *lol* Harassing the older cats who are to dumb to give him a smack so he knows he cant do everything. But he can purr like a lawn mower *lol*
Reply
:iconridinginlongsocks:
RidingInLongSocks Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Student General Artist
So helpful!! thanyou :)
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
No problem! :)
Reply
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