How to Take Better Pictures of People and Pets

People and pets are among the most challenging subjects to photograph, and yet these photographs command the most interest. No matter what your skill level, you can always learn something new that can improve your photography when it comes to taking photos of pets and people. This article will give you some valuable tips that you can immediately start using to take better photos of the people and pets you care about most!

How to Take Great Pictures of People

The best pictures of people portray their personalities. While a picture may capture the person in the moment, sometimes the picture doesn’t accurately reflect the person’s usual expressions or appearance. The solution to this problem is simple: After setting up your photo shoot, spend a little time chatting with the subject, camera ready. When you see that smile or look that has their name written all over it, start clicking.

A few technical tips:

  • Keep in mind that Portrait mode tends to distort, making the subject look wider or younger. Even though some people may appreciate looking younger, normally you want to avoid this distortion by zooming in on your subject. Stand close enough that the subject fills the frame of your viewfinder, take one step back, zoom to fill your frame again and shoot.
  • Whenever possible, always use natural light. If using indoor lighting, try to use lamps with full spectrum light bulbs. Try to avoid low ceiling light as this creates bad shadows.
  • If you’re taking pictures that you think you may want to keep, always shoot in high resolution so the images will be in high enough quality for printing and framing.

How to Take Great Pet Pictures

The first rule of thumb for taking pet pictures is: Set your camera to Sports mode or a high shutter speed!

If your camera has a “Burst” mode this can help because it lets you shoot a lot of pictures rapidly so you’ll be more likely to get a good shot.

Sometimes you may want to catch an action photo and show movement, so instead of using a higher shutter speed to freeze the action, you may want to blur it. In this case, use Portrait mode for a slower shutter speed.

As with people, and even more so with pets, natural light is best, not just because the photos will come out better, but because flash can upset animals. If you must use flash, protect your pets’ eyes from injury by referring to your camera’s safe distance recommendations (usually four or more feet).

Depending upon the color of your pet’s fur coat, you’ll want to use different lighting for best results. For a light colored coat, you want a bright overcast sky and for a dark brown or black coat, you want to have direct sunlight to bring out the rich colors. If photographing in bright sunlight, use the same times of day you would with people, when the sun is lower rather than higher in the sky. And for framing pictures of your pets, go with a type of frame that complements the color of your pet’s fur like brown picture frames or for a more decorative look go with a pet specific frame like a dog picture frame or cat picture frame.

If you want to get really good candid photos of your pet, take time to follow your pet around with your camera and be patient until you get a picture you really like. Using zoom will allow you to get good shots without being so close your pet is more interested in the camera then just being itself giving. So if possible, always keep your distance and use an optical zoom for best results.

Finally as with people, focus on the eyes. Try to get “eye level” with your pet which often means getting on the floor to capture that perfect photo.

By using these tips, you’ll be able to start taking better pictures right away and have photos that you’ll be proud to display. Have fun shooting and don’t forget to frame your favorite photos!