SEPTEMBER 2014 ;e Costco Connection 67
freezing the movements and capturing the bird’s
eye when it’s clear. To help obtain a high shutter
speed, be sure to photograph your bird in a location that has plenty of light.
4. Unclutter the background. Don’t underestimate the importance of the background. When
choosing a location for your pet’s photo, avoid
“busy” scenes, such as distracting cars, tree limbs or
telephone poles. Even an object that is attractive by
itself—a pretty birdbath, for example—can become
distracting when it’s competing with your pet for
attention in the photo.
5. Get great expressions. Once you’re all
set—positioning, lighting, good background—all
you need is a happy expression from your pet. Try
not to rely on treats to get your pet’s attention; many
pets focus solely on the treat and actually become
more difficult to work with.
Make quick, interesting noises that your pet
isn’t used to hearing, such as squeaks, hisses or
whispers. Noise-making gadgets (such as cellphones) may occasionally get a reaction or two.
Most of all, remember to vary the sounds, and don’t
overuse them or your pet will lose interest completely. Some pets refuse to respond to sound, so
you may have to resort to treats in those cases.
6. Keep it short and fun. Working with pets
takes plenty of patience, and if you go into the shoot
with a patient mind-set, you’ll find it easier to concentrate. Try to work fast—pets have short attention
spans and can’t be expected to stay focused during a
lengthy photo session. Take breaks if you need to.
And have fun! Good photography shouldn’t be a
chore, and everyone involved can enjoy a good time
while capturing perfect portraits.
7. Get a helper. You can have beautiful light,
the best background and swell camera skills, but if
you don’t have someone to help you handle your
pet, you may be in trouble. Even well-behaved pets
don’t always understand what we want them to do,
so it’s essential to have an extra pair of hands around
to keep your pet in place and adjust its position.
If you don’t use an assistant, you’ll constantly
need to get up, adjust your pet, back up and get into
position, only to have your pet become distracted
or move away before you’re ready. Working with an
assistant will speed up the shoot (which keeps
everyone happy) and limit frustration. C
Daniel Johnson (
www.foxhillphoto.com) is a professional pet photographer and the author of several
animal and photography books.