Pet Portraits From Photos UK-How to Take Photos of Your Puppy (for a puppy pet portrait)
I have recently had the pleasure of looking after Peggy the Border Terrier puppy and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to refine my puppy photography skills. Pet photography is not easy, with a moving target at the best of times, photographing puppies is on another level. They just don't sit still! When commissioning a pet portrait from photos, it is very important to start off with a photo you are very happy with, it needs to be in the right pose, lighting and be highly detailed. All these factors take time to get in one photo.
So, heres a quick guide on the things I learned from photographing Peggy.
Puppy Photography Tips for A Puppy Pet Portrait- Number 1- Staying inside might be best
Usually, when I am giving out photography tips, especially for getting photos for commissioning a pet portrait, my first tip is usually to go outside due to the lighting. However, I found with photographing Peggy, I got better results inside. She was less distracted and there was far less ability for her to wander off. It still wasn't easy, but I found I got a far greater number of photos I was happy with.
However, this does come with its own restrictions. You want to be in a bright room, with a good amount of sunlight, with your puppy ideally facing the light. This means you may be restricted to certain times of the day. I found the room Peggy was mainly in, it needed to be morning for the best photos. This photo was taken at about 11am with Peggy facing a nice bright east facing window.
Puppy Photography Tips for A Puppy Pet Portrait-Number 2-Patience
Quite frankly, this tip could have been in the number 1 spot. You need a serious amount of patience to get nice photos. Your success will be highly dependent on your puppy's mood. If they are having a "mad 5 minutes", forget it and wait till they are in a more chilled out mood. You need them to be ideally sat still, and sat still enough to not run up to you every time you crouch down with your camera at the ready.
Don't expect to get great photos within minutes. Set aside a morning, with something else you can do in the meantime and keep half an eye on what they are up to. If they are in the right mood, right location and the lighting is right, strike quickly and get your camera at the ready.
Puppy Photography Tips for A Puppy Pet Portrait-Number 3- Assistance
You may find, your life is made a little easier with the help of an assistant. Someone to make sure they stay where they are and don't run towards you when you crouch down is really helpful, as them doing that gets frustrating fast.
Your assistant can help by getting your puppy into a sit stay, whilst you are ready with your camera, making sure that they reward puppy frequently.
Puppy Photography Tips for A Puppy Pet Portrait-Number 4- Making weird noises
Hear me out. Weird noises are absolutely essential when it comes to puppy photography. Want your puppy to have that adorable cocked head to one side, staring intently at you? Making strange noises is absolutely the way to get them to do that. Something quite high pitched usually works well. If you are struggling to make noises that catch their interest, a squeaker from a squeaky toy may have the desired effect, or even playing youtube videos of noises that attract puppies attention (there are plenty of videos online for this exact purpose).
Puppy Photography Tips for A Puppy Pet Portrait-Number 5- Get down low
Every one of the puppy photos in this post were taken with me getting down on Peggy's level, either by crouching or kneeling down. You can get the odd cute photo of your puppy looking up towards you, but for some really great shots, it does help to be down on the ground.
Instead of seeing the top of your puppies' head, you are directly looking at their face, which makes for a nicer photo.
If you have someone to help you (to make sure they don't fall off), it may be helpful to get your puppy sat on a chair, placed in an area of good lighting. Then you can crouch down to their height, make a noise/wave a treat to attract their attention and quickly take a few photos. With them on the chair they can't wander off and it is also easier to get down to their height.
I hope this post has helped you understand how you can get better photos of your puppy. It is so important to get photos of them at this age, as they grow up so quickly.
If you want any tips specifically for pet photography using the camera on your phone, which may be helpful check out my blog post on this subject here. Top tip for using a phone camera; stay close to your pet, never use your zoom.
If you are thinking of commissioning a puppy pet portrait, why not get in touch.