How to take better photos at animal rescues

Taking better photos of shelter animals – a quick guide.

How to take better photos at animal rescues

I had a great time at the Dane County Humane Society this past weekend!  I love working with their organization, and I had a great time meeting everyone.  I’ve put together this very short & very basic tutorial on taking better shelter pet photos. 

{If you’d like the guide for better photos that I’ve created as a preview for my candid photography e-book coming out later this month, click here:  Better Pet Photos. }

For camera skills, and if you’d like to brush up on your basic photo skills, again, I cannot recommend Photography Concentrate enough!  They also have this really cool Creativity Guide for those of you who are more advanced.

Here are my 4 quick steps to better photos of shelter animals.

1) Shoot outside.  If you can shoot outside you are less likely to get the “demon eyes” that come with an auto flash coming on… never a good look ;).

2)  For those of you who use program modes – use a “sport mode” or any mode that helps you set a very high shutter speed, therefore stopping action.    If your camera has a mode on the dial with a little guy running, that’s what you want to be in. We all know that dogs move quickly, and in stressful situations where they might not be on their best behavior, they can be even more “twitchy”.

I tend to use aperture priority mode and exposure compensation to stop action. It gives my images a consistent look and feel, and since I am shooting at 3.2 or 3.5, it will stop the action with the resulting faster shutter speed.

3) Get on their level.  This may mean sitting on the ground, but honestly, these are my best & most commented-on photos.  The dog will usually really connect with the camera, even if its not staring directly at the lens.  This different perspective (ie:Doggie View) may also pique a potential adopter’s interest and make the photo more viral because of the unusual point of view!

 4) Have someone stand directly behind you while you’re on the ground holding a treat, a toy, whatever works… Too many times I see people trying to be helpful to the photographer by telling the dog to sit,  but that person is yelling from over on the side, so the dog loses interest in the camera, and goes towards the person yelling instead… not really what you want to happen :).

A word on black dogs:  Black dogs can be difficult because the camera overexposes the image because it thinks everything is much darker than it really is.  To {somewhat} account for this over exposure, try to photograph the dog in heavy shade rather than in direct sunlight. Also trying underexposing the image just a bit to create a truer black, but be careful you do not make their eyes disappear.

These very, very basic tricks will help you take better shelter and animal photos – as well as better candids of other things that move quickly!  Stay tuned for more articles like this, and please share if you find this helpful.

-Hannah

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One Comment

  1. Susan Schutz says:

    As always, excellent quick tip guide!

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