I am an avid lover of pets, especially my own pup, Zoe, whom I feel is practically my surrogate daughter. I have hundreds of photographs of her and her brother, Cooper, and have grown to become a connoisseur of capturing them in unique and interesting ways.
I know I'm not alone out there. I regularly surf Instagram and see all of you putting up wacky photos of your pets. I don't judge. I feel your passion. And for many, I admire your images. While I know it's not exactly fine art we're talking about (honestly though, to me it is very much a serious art). Let's face it, we love our pets and love capturing the weird stuff they do. And then sharing it with the world
1. STOP USING FLASH!
Unless you interested in black and white, film noir styled photography, flash has no place in darkened environments. Learn to love natural light, and take advantage of it where ever it is. Flash can make colors unnatural, imperfections more obvious, and overall can startle your pet and ruin the moment. In general, light available can create amazing artistic choices. If your used to relying on flash, and are using a point-and-shoot or DSLR camera, consider using a higher ISO when shooting in low light. But be aware that the image captures less pixel quality the higher the ISO. If using a cell phone, become very aware of the light around you. Experiment. Play.
2. GET DOWN TO YOUR PETS LEVEL
Above all the advice I can give, this tip can (and will) dramatically change your pictures. Start photographing from your pets point of view. Grow comfortable squatting, getting on the floor, observing tight spaces and such. Your photographs will grow more intimate and complex. You'll discover new angles and details about the world around you. Your pet's personality will shine even more through your images.
3. TAKE THEM PLACES
Do not sit in your rocking chair anymore, photographing your puppy sleeping on the couch cushion, and dare to showcase that crazy knitted living room furniture in tungsten lighting. Your pet is not a decorative fixture.
Get out of the house and play with them. It is amazing the kind of photographs that can be created when you take them out of their element. Photograph them interacting with new worlds, new smells, people, etc. Or maybe even move them to a new room in the house. Just be sure to be safe and know your pets limits (don't take your snake to a public movie theatre, or let your dog run loose on the highway, etc.).
4. TRY OUT AN EDITING APP
There are a number of amazing free editing apps out there that can give your picture an extra punch. The one everyone is familiar with is Instagram, which is wonderful for executing custom filters that replicate several classic film styles.
However, if your looking for a change from good old Instagram, or simply are put off by the social media component it offers, then try some of my recommendations:
Vintique is a splashy version of Instagram containing dozens upon dozens of filter options, and easy to use photo editing options. Unlike Instagram, you can choose the resolution of your images, and even have them professionally framed and shipped to your doorstep.
Retromatic allows you to go crazy and make 1950-1970's inspired collage art with your pets.
Adobe Photoshop Touch might sound intimidating, but completely user friendly for beginners, and is designed to be utilized for very quick touch ups on a mobile device. The tools offered are for slightly more serious editing to improve photographs. This is not an editing app for those into artsy filters, all though you can certainly create some from this app.
If your not having fun, neither will your pet. Experiment with what you have around you. Don't be afraid to make bold choices. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Have lots of fun and PLEASE FEEL FREE TO POST YOUR FAVORITE PICTURES HERE ON THIS SITE!