Family portraits are daunting to shoot on their own. That coupled with including their pets can seem an exasperating feat because of a variable that doesn’t remain constant for long. Pun intended! Pets are nature’s way of reminding us of the care and dedication that goes into feeding and providing for a voiceless soul. That amount of closeness calls for family moments that must be captured for reminiscing later on. The shots need to highlight the pet’s appreciation for the family and vice-versa. Here are the 11 Best Techniques for Taking Family Portraits with Pets.
1. Do your homework
Homework here refers to the amount of research that goes into gaining information about the pet. Most families today rescue pets and save them from the environmental harshness by adopting them. A photographer should ask about their history and experience with the pet and their fondness for him/her. This can generate a few ideas about the portrait frame and settings.
2. Learn a few tricks
If you are a photographer that jumps fences on seeing pets, please gather some will power. Put some time into learning how to behave with pets and inquire about their habits and likings. Learning a few tricks to calm down the pet and make it like you, will bolster the chances of the pet obeying you. Once you get over the fear you are ready to take a few stills.
3. Carry a treat
Always pet the animal whenever visiting the client for idea discussion and serve it a little treat. Pets are hungry for attention and once they get to like you, your bonding will be much easier to establish. carrying around a few treats and feeding them can increase their fondness for you. You can make the pet act to your will while capturing its grace in the portraits and ensure a non-hectic shoot session.
4. Spend some time with the pet
Once you have wooed over the pet use the time to get to know it better. Take it around the yard, indulge in some games, and slowly expose the pet to the camera. After a few single session, the pet is bound to be confident in standing in line with the camera, without jumping in the air whenever the shutter clicks back.
5. Always work in teams
As discussed above pets are a variable that can be tried to put in control. It is not astounding that the pet may not be compliant with whatever ideas for portraits you have in mind. Conducting the portrait with at least a team of two members can significantly improve your chances of grabbing a few exhilarating shots.
6. Opt for natural locations
Whenever choosing a spot for the portrait always try to incorporate frames that appear a bit more natural to the pet. This fondness of nature will highlight the pet in a more admissible setting, that will make it feel in place with the owners and nature. Natural locations also add a bit more contrast and flair, to the otherwise dull shots.
7. Induce some shade
In bright outdoor settings, it’s imperative to induce some shade into your portraits. The shade acts as a natural filter that gracefully garners light onto your subjects without making them appear like vibrant objects in an outdoor location. The direct sunlight on the pets can make them appear like a fuzzball and irritate them due to the scorching heat. A successful portrait takes some time and retakes to accomplish and if you try to attempt that in a direct bright light setting, it can be unsettling for the pets.
8. Make the pets outshine
Keep in mind that the pets are a quintessential member of the household and need to shine better in the portraits. It should not appear like they are shoved and crammed into the portrait for some reason. The key is to subtly focus on the pet’s while not making it super-obvious that it a pet-highlighting portrait. The pets hold sentimental value to their owners that are irreplaceable. Always remember that though when executing a project involving pets.
9. Continuous mode is your friend
Pets are super jumpy and vivacious. Pick a camera with a decent continuous mode and good autofocus that can capture the personality of the pets with ease. Present generation cameras come with support for animal tracking with AI-enhancements that is guaranteed to land better shots. Camera with older firmware lack this and can be of very little help when shooting with pets. Even when conducting the portrait use the burst mode, as pets can be super-spontaneous at any given time interval. Burst mode is your best friend when shooting portraits involving pets. It also produces some extra shots that can act as a happy memory of the pet for its owners.
10. Don’t stress out the pet
Pets are happy when they are able to enjoy free will. Don’t try to pry between their routine and disrupt their natural and normal day. Photographers can act quite nosy with their super strict pose ideas and thoughts that can irritate the pets. Try to incorporate those ideas that are a little or no trouble for the pets. Do your best to capture and highlight the nature of the relationship between the pets and their owner. The portraits emphasizing this relationship can entice the clients more towards selecting those shots for printing.
11. Stay relaxed
We’ve talked about how to calm the pet and act friendly to make your task less troublesome. But let’s not forget that for a photographer that requires finesse and stillness in every shot, pets can act quite opposite. You should try to calm yourself and not get exasperated with little disturbances. Think of the pet as a kid that is oblivious to the things happening around it. Keep your composure and look for attributes that will help liven up the portraits.
This is our interpretation of the 11 Best Techniques for Taking Family Portraits with Pets. These will be of your help while you embark on the tedious journey of capturing pets with their families.