Photographing Our Four Legged Friends

Ever since I was a kid I’ve had pets in my home and love my furry little friends.  And there is no doubt that our pets are an important part of our family.  Each of my pets has a unique personality.  My dog is a pug who can usually be found snoring on the sofa but he has a very expressive face – you’d swear he understands what you are saying.  My Siamese cat is like the old man in our house…he seems annoyed by all the noise and just wants to find a quiet place to relax but at the end of the day he enjoys a good hug.  And my kitten has brought some of the wild from outdoors in – he is full of energy and personality.

Photography of a Puppy

My Puppy - 1980

As part of my effort to be sure to preserve my family’s memories, I make an effort to photography my pets at least a few times a year.  I know looking back in my photo albums from my childhood there are only a few photos of the pets that we’ve had over the years.  The photo above was of our puppy Tubby that we got when I was 5 or 6 years old.  It was our first puppy and that dog was the sweetest ever.  I remember in high school when she had to be put to sleep how very sad I was because I truly could not remember a time that we didn’t have her!

Show Personality

Photo of Kitten Jumping Outdoors

Sasha Kitten - Jumping

I’m now all grown up and have a home of my own – complete with my three pets.  And as part of my effort to preserve our family memories, I am sure to take pictures of our pets frequently so that we’ll remember them many years from now and be able to look back.  One of my goals is to capture their personalities.  Above is a picture of our “kitten” Sasha.  He (yes, Sasha is a boy-we were surprised too) loves to race outside when we open our back door even though he is technically an indoor cat.  Usually that means we chase him around the yard to catch him and bring him back in.  On this day I chased him with my camera instead to take a few quick pictures before I brought him indoors.  Where we live it just wouldn’t be practical or safe for him to be outdoors alone but it was fun to see him so happy jumping in the grass and chasing bugs (he did one time get stung by a wasp, poor kitty).

Getting Attention

Portrait Photo of a Pug

Leo the Pug

I’m lucky when it comes time to photograph my dog.  He is a pug which means he is pretty lazy – and will work for food.  One the things I love most about my pug is his expressive face so I find myself getting really close to him most of the time when I photograph him.  Doesn’t he just look ready to listen?  To get his attention for a portrait I will carry an especially delicious treat with me – usually a little part of a hot dog.  He’ll sit still for a long time if he thinks he’s getting a hot dog at the end…maybe your dog will to?   Another way to get their attention when you are ready to snap your photo?  Make a funny noise!  Your dog will look over at you and a lot of the time perk up his ears which looks great in a picture.  The one thing you may want to avoid is calling your dog’s name because they might get confused thinking you want them to come to you instead of staying still.

Start Early

Photo of a Kitten

Sasha as a Kitten

Just like babies, pets grow up really quickly.  Before you know it, that tiny kitten you feel like you just brought home had doubled in size and no longer looks like a ball of fluff.  So be sure you are ready with your camera for those first few days at home with your new pet.  You’ll be so glad you have those pictures of your teeny tiny pet years later when they are so grown up.

Be Candid

Photo of a Cat on Desk

Watson at Work

Finally, be ready to take pictures of your pets where they are just being themselves.  Be ready with your camera and you’ll be able to take candid shots of your pet in their everyday activities.  My oldest pet, Watson, liked to find quiet places to relax, and frequently he likes to be around when I’m working on my computer.  He sometimes lays in my lap, but on the day I took this picture he decided instead to lounge on my desk.   Do you find your pets sleeping in strange places (under the bed, in a laundry hamper, in a sun spot on the carpet)?  Then see if you can’t quietly approach them and take their picture there too!  Follow your pet around in the backyard to take pictures of their favorite activities too!

If you are interested in learning more about photographing your pets, there are a number of books on photographing pets available at Amazon to help get you started.  Or if you need to learn more about how to use your camera, consider taking a beginner’s photography class.

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Comments (3)

  1. Pingback: Weekly Perspectives Round Up: Here Comes Summer « TodaysMama

  2. Jessica 05/16/2010 at 5:03 pm

    This sure was a fun one to write. Pets are a great subject to photograph. Just like kids – they all have different personalities.

  3. rani shah 05/15/2010 at 9:11 pm

    Love this article! thanks for the links too!