By : Nikon School Blog | 22 Dec, 2017 |
Pets are as much a part of our lives as our human family members. Whoever has ever had a pet will understand the importance of having their wonderful memories preserved as images of various moments of their lives. It is sad that most pets, like dogs, cats and birds have a much shorter life span than ours. After they're gone, we are left saddened and miss them forever. This is why we must try to take some memorable images of our pets while they are still doing what they do best – being cute and giving us their selfless love.
When to shoot?
The best time to shoot them is when they are in a good mood and feeling cheerful. However, a flip side to this is that while they're being very playful, especially dogs, it's quite difficult to get them to pose or be stable for a decent shot.
If you're having difficulty shooting your pets at play, choose a time when they're resting, like just after a meal, or immediately after they wake up.
Even while sleeping, many pets make funny postures, make sure you capture these moments.
Make them comfortable
Pets will certainly not understand the importance of you trying to take their picture. So, don't make them uncomfortable by scolding them or forcing them to do things they do not want to. Often, such images look forced and may make you feel bad when you look at them years later.
Make them comfortable by saying nice things and petting them, or treat them with goodies they love, after each shot. They'll make the connection soon, and may even start posing for you!
Unless you're trying a studio shoot with full set up, stick to basics. Use daylight as much as possible. Even while shooting indoors, use window or balcony light to keep the images natural. If you can use flash, use it by bouncing off the ceiling or walls.
Focus on eyes
Just like human portraits, pet portraits should always have sharp focus on their eyes. Try using single point focus on the pet's eyes for when they are static for some time. For moving pets, use dynamic point and take multiple shots.
Pets will often give you a variety of expressions that can be cute, funny, and even emotional. To ensure you do not miss out on any of these, shoot multiple images by using the continuous drive mode.
To get interesting perspective, try going down at the level of the pet. Avoid shooting from your level and looking down all the time.
Use open apertures like f/2.8 to 5/5.6 for shallow depth of field. If you're shooting more than one pet, then increase depth of field by choosing a smaller aperture, like f/8 or f/11. Use Aperture priority (A) Mode for best results.
Use single point AF and AF-S for pets at rest. Switch to AF-C and Dynamic or 3D tracking mode for moving pets.
For fast moving pets, select a shutter speed between 1/500 and 1/1000 in Shutter priority (S) mode. Use ISO 200 - 400 in bright conditions, and 800 - 1600 in overcast and low light conditions.