By Michele Butterfield, Magnolia Design & Photography
We are so glad we've been able to help the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina, simply by coming in once a week and spending some time photographing new residents and capturing their personalities, in a comfortable, fun and relaxed environment. Depending on the animal, we get their photos done in less than 2 or 3 minutes, sometimes it takes as long as 10 or 15 minutes. This brings me to my first piece of advice when it comes to getting the best images of your pet.
Patience. Be patient with yourself. Don't be upset or frustrated when your first picture isn't that great. We take an average 25-50 pictures of each animal at HSEC to end up with 3 good ones. The good thing with digital technology is, you can delete the bad ones!
Be patient with your pet. They have no clue why you are begging them to sit still and look at you. Plan ahead and take them for a long walk or have a play session before you start their photo shoot! This gets at least some of their energy out and they will be more willing to listen and cooperate.
Get to know your camera. More than likely, your camera has a bit of a delay from when you push the shutter button (the button that takes the picture) to when the picture actually gets taken. The more practice you have with your camera the better you can judge what it is going to do. If your camera has settings that you don't understand, read the manual or get online and learn about them (Google is your friend).
Look at the whole picture. What shows up in the background of your images can definitely make or break your pictures. Clutter and/or distracting objects in the background will take a way from the subject of the photo, your pet.
Sun is no fun! Many people think that the best time to get pictures is in direct sunlight. Nope! Overcast days, shade or later in the evening (around 7:30 in the summer time) are the best times to take photos.
Look alert! If you followed my advice to get some energy out of your pet, they are probably panting and have their tongue hanging out (if you have a dog). If this is the look you want, perfect. If not, here are some ways to get them to stop panting for a second: high pitched sounds, clicks, squeaks or certain key words (like walk or treat) will get the dog to - very briefly - shut his/her mouth and maybe even tilt his head. This is when knowing your camera and the delay on your shutter will come in handy.
In the end, most of this advice is for dogs...with cats you really have to just wait until they feel like posing for you. If you have an assistant you can have them hold a toy right above the camera, or in the direction you want the cat to look, as you are taking the picture. That's really all the advice I have for cats. Any one with cats already knows, they do things on their own time, at their own pace. You are their pet, not the other way around.
We are all about supporting the Humane Society, so if you adopt a pet from the Humane Society and we have taken their photo, you can contact Magnolia Design and Photography to purchase a print(s) and all proceeds will go directly to HSEC.