Purrfect pet photography

To create a good pastel portrait, I need some good reference material.

I always draw from photographs for portrait work. Imagine trying to get your pet to sit still for 5 minutes let alone the time it takes for a portrait! Unless we’re talking cats, of course, and you’d like a portrait of them sleeping…

If you are unsure whether the images that you have of your pet will be suitable, simply give me a call. Normally I will ask people to post or email the shots and can then let you know if I can use them.

Here are some photography tips that might help:

Not big enough in the frame

Not big enough in the frame

Much better for a full body shot
Much better for a full body shot

Getting the right distance
Get in as close as you can without chopping off important parts of your subject

You’ll want to balance your subject so he fills the frame well.  Too small and the shot will be all background

The second of these photos fills the frame well and makes for a great full body shot of the animal.  Make sure that you don’t capture too much background so that your subject becomes a tiny dot in one corner.

Too Close
Too Close
Much better head shot
Much better head shot

 

 

 

Close, but not too close

The first of these head shots could be nice if it were in focus and the photographer had pulled back slightly.

The second is a much better image.  Its nicely lit, in focus and show enough detail in the coat and the eyes to make a great portrait.

Blur, blur, blur
Blur, blur, blur

henry_goodmed

 

 

 

 

Focus

Getting the Focus spot on is key.  If the image is blurry, then the artist has to second guess the detail and the result won’t show any character of your pet.

 

Amber_good
Now we are at Amber’s level

 

Not so interesting shot from above
Not so interesting shot from above
This is where your camera may have problems getting the right exposure, often a pop of flash is enough to fill the shadow areas. Stops that black cat in coal bunker look.
This is where your camera may have problems getting the right exposure, often a pop of flash is enough to fill the shadow areas. Stops that black cat in coal bunker look.
Now that the light source is in front we can see much more detail
Now that the light source is in front we can see much more detail

 

Get down to it

Compare the two images of Amber on the sofa. The first one looks much more interesting because we are down at her level in her world.  the second one however is just a cat asleep on the sofa

When you capture the sharp detail its easier to see expressions and capture nuances that make your pet special.

 

 

 

Lighting

Lastly, make sure that you have the light source in front of the subject . With the light behind, the image again lacks detail.  This is a particularly key point when you’re photographing black or white animals or animals where the coat is predominantly one colour.

Look at the difference in the black cat images here.

OK well I hope that’s been useful.  Happy snapping!

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