Expert Tips On The Art Of Pet Photography
We all know the drill. Precious angel pet does typical precious angel thing (insert awww-inspiring facial expression, sleeping position, pose...ad infinitum) for the 12th time that day (because duh, they’re all angels), you finally ready your phone or camera to capture the magic...and they move. Or they look at you with a mischievous glint in their eye, then dart away with the satisfaction that they’re denying you precisely what you’re after — that perfect frame.
But you’re going to fill up your memory space with photos of your sweet four-legged best friend anyway. So why not find a way to not only make those photos better to begin with, but have a tool that edits them to frameable, shareable, even-more-loveable perfection?
That’s where BeFunky’s Photo Editor comes in handy. This intuitive tool allows you to prime your pet photographs to look their absolute best — the clincher being that you don’t have to be an expert photographer or photo editor. The best way to use BeFunky is to pair it with some essential pet modelling tips from the pet sitter pros over at Rover.com. So here are some key pointers straight from the pet people.
Tips For Taking Better Pet Photos
Think About Your Pet’s Happiest Place. Is is a certain corner of the house? If a dog, is it out on a trail in your neighborhood? Not only will they be at their most comfortable and least likely to be on alert in their favorite place, but they’re more likely to be a great model. Wherever their bliss is, the more likely you are to get that amazing tongue-wagging shot.
Make Good Use Of Natural Light. For those who don’t want to have to remember a great deal about the particulars of great photography, remember this at least: Natural. Light. When your pet’s near a window with the natural daylight washing over their face, take your photo from the same direction as the light source.
Same goes for sunny shots outside. Never shoot directly into the sun — your pet’s face will be in shadow and the overall light quality of the photo won’t be great. Just look for light scenarios where your pet’s face is illuminated and the light is soft but highlights the best features of the scene (i.e. your four-legged friend).
Treats. This one seems obvious, but we couldn’t not throw it in. Nothing beats a bacon-cheddar bone in order to get your dog to keep his head gracefully tilted up with the angelic hope that looks so great on camera.
Use An Assistant To Distract. Having a hard time corralling your pet for a successful modeling session on your own? Enlist the help of another family member or friend you already know your pet is enamored with. This will take your pet’s attention off the fact that there’s a camera pointed at them, and the engagement with another person is bound to elicit some snap-able moments.
For Close Up Portraits — Exercise First! The more tuckered out your pup is, the less likely they are to run wild while you’re trying to get the perfect shot.
Plus, they'll look a little more calm (and adorable!) in your final photos.
Don’t Be Too Eager For The Shot. Calm your anxiety and urge to get the perfect photo, and you decrease the chance that your pet will pick up on your vibes and take the photo shoot south.
And those sweet candid moments happen when you least expect them, anyways.
Make A Strange Noise. This one sounds odd, but harnessing the power of confusion can be a great tactic towards getting a focused shot of that adorable face. Whether it’s a weird chirp, meow, squeak, what-have-you, there’s bound to be some sound that totally stumps your pet into looking at you, completely still. Pet photographer’s dream? We think so.
Plus, there’s a great chance you can coax out that adorable head tilt that our sweet furry friends exhibit when they think we’re crazy (totally worth it for the sake of the photo).
Use Props Wisely. Not only will that random mug, magazine, or shipping box muck up the aesthetics of the photo, but it’ll distract your furry friend, exciting them away from their modeling task at hand.
Well, unless it's a sleeping kitten. In which case, prop away!
How To Edit Your Pet Photography To Perfection
So, now that you’re basically an expert in the particulars of photo shoot setups and pet corralling for the perfect shot, now you can check out how to perfect the results of those photo shoots with the help of BeFunky photo editing tools. When you've nailed the perfect shot, head to BeFunky's Photo Editor and upload it.
This shot was taken with plenty of natural light streaming in from the window. To really enhance the details, we recommend the Enhance DLX effects at the top of the Edit menu. These four effects are super smart, able to sense where your photo needs the most editing. The Sharpen DLX effect is particularly great at bringing out the details in your pet’s fur without over-sharpening (you know, where you get those weird halo effects around the edges).
Now that your photo is looking nice and sharp, a great way to bring attention to the main subject (aka your furry friend!) is to use a Vignette effect. You’ll find this in the Edit menu as well. Clicking on Vignette will slightly darken the edges of your photo, keeping the center nice and bright and thus putting all the focus on your pet.
After you click on Vignette, you’ll be presented with a target that you can click and drag to reposition over the center of your pet’s sweet face. Clicking and dragging the white squares and circles around this target will help you resize.
You can use the Exposure tool in the Edit menu to adjust the brightness, contrast, and shadows, but if you want to take your photo a professional step beyond, we recommend trying the Levels tool. This is an advanced tool that’s been simplified so that anyone can edit like a pro.
Once you’ve clicked on Levels, you can edit the Reds, Greens, and Blues that work together to compose your photo by dragging the corresponding sliders along the histogram. We’ll admit, it takes a little experimenting to master this tool by hand, so we’ve created a cheat sheet! Using the dropdown menu under Presets will help you automatically balance the exposure so it’s just right. Here, we’ve chosen Lighten Shadows to balance the contrast, but see what works best for your shot.
See how amazing your pet portrait can be with just a few clicks?
Adding Special Effects To Your Pet Photography
If you want to give your pet portrait more of a unique aesthetic, head to the Effects tab. You’ll find a huge library of filters to add character to your photo. Here’s a few of our favorite looks:
Add some subtle chroma (color) in filter form.
Black and White
A classic look for any portrait.
Turn your pup into pop art, Andy Warhol style.
You’ll find this one in the Artsy tab, amongst a huge array of other Photo To Art effects. Pet photography and the Cartoonizer go together like birds of a feather.
Go forth and create amazing images of one of your favorite creatures. By now, you know that all you need is A) a sweet furry friend to put in front of the camera (check), B) pro tips for making your cat or dog into a pet model (see above — check!), and C) the essential photo editing tool from the image curators over at BeFunky.
This post was written by Casey Dickson, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation's largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.