For taking top-class snapshots of your pet, you don’t have to be a professional photographer. Just by keeping a few essential things in mind, you can easily capture outstanding shots. Let’s learn how to take better digital photographs of pets.
Each pet has a unique personality. Some are lazy, quiet and docile, while others are hyperactive, energetic, and inquisitive. Try to take shots when your pet is sleeping, eating, playing or just jumping around. Every activity that your pet indulges in showcases their personality and you should surely capture such unforgettable moments.
Always choose the location carefully. Your pet should be comfortable at that place, and it should also evoke emotions, not only in your pet, but also in you. The next important thing that you should take into account is the background. With respect to pet photography, the best location is one that is plain and simple like a patch of green grass or a well-lit room with white walls and red carpet.
Avoid taking snapshots while standing up and looking down at the pet. Instead, get down to his level and look into his eyes. Also try to shoot him as closely as possible. If your pet is active and likes to move around, then it will be exceedingly difficult to get close to him. In such a case, you should buy a camera that is equipped with a zoom lens.
Lighting is an important factor with regards to pet photography. The usage of flash will either distract the animal or scare him away. In some instances, it also creates the problem of red eye. Thus, natural and artificial light sources are better options. Use flash only if your pet has dark fur; it will help to highlight even the smallest details.
If you’re not comfortable using full manual mode, then sports mode is just for you. In this mode, you can easily capture excellent snapshots of your overtly active pet. Alternately, you can use shutter priority mode, where you have to set the shutter speed, and the camera will do the rest of the things automatically.
If you wish to take natural photographs, then make an effort to catch your pet unaware. It is unusually difficult to persuade the animal to pose properly. Hence, paparazzi style photos are the best bet.
Let your pet play around with toys, and capture their playfulness. The photo shoot should be enjoyable for both you and your pet.
If you want your digital photographs to look real, then don’t forget to include yourself and other family members. When the animal interacts with his owner, genuine emotions are evoked, which are worth capturing.
Try out different angles and different perspectives. Apart from full body shots, you can capture three-quarters of the body or focus on single features like eyes, nose, ears, and so forth.
Remember, expertise only comes from experimentation. For this reason, don’t hesitate to experiment. You will only end up with a few bad shots, and nothing else is going to happen. On the contrary, continued experimentation will make you a perfect professional pet photographer in a short span of time.
About the Author:
This article was written by Patrick Laundy. He manages an online photo album called OurPhotos. The idea was to keep things as simple and uncluttered as possible while providing a fully-functional photo sharing service.
LET’S GET THE DETAILS ON THEM, AND SEE IF WE CAN HELP YOU SOLVE THE PROBLEM, IF IT IS A PROBLEM. I HAVE OFTEN TRIED TO USE THE LENS FLARES ON PURPOSE, AND LOVE THE IDEAS OF HOW IT CAN BE PART OF A GREAT PHOTO.
I found a great article written by John Rundle for PICTURE / CORRECT that explains the why and how of lens flair that makes sense of it all. Check this out:
A camera lens is made up of several elements—pieces of special glass ground to a specific curve according to computer calculations. Each element directs light in a particular way and corrects aberrations caused by other lens elements. A telephoto lens may have from 10 to 20 elements.
Usually, elements are joined together with optically clear cement in groups. Rare earth components and minerals are used to make each element perform its task efficiently, and these elements are coated with high quality anti-reflective coatings. It’s a highly complex and expensive process, yet in spite of all the research the perfect lens has to date not been made.
If a very bright light from outside the subject hits the glass, the reflections can cause a range of major image effects. These include washed out color, loss of contrast, bright shapes in the image, often polygonal, the shape of the diaphragm. It’s not unusual to see bright streaks as well. The name for these occurrences is lens flare, which can occupy a large portion of the image area. Because flare is much brighter than the subject it tends to pull the viewer’s eye toward it, sometimes losing the impact of the picture.
It’s the most common one, but any source of bright light will do it. So you could get a street light, car headlight, even the full moon in a night shot. The light source does not have to be in the frame, but any stray light just outside it can cause an obvious effect. Efficient, modern anti-reflective coatings are great, but they will not stop all flare.
Make sure the lens is shielded from bright light outside the picture area striking the front element. Ways to do this include using the black hood that came with your lens. This fits over the front and provides a protective barrier. No hood? Use your hand (make sure it’s not in the picture). A piece of card (often called a ‘flag’ in this application) or some object between the lens and the sun—a tree, post or other object to avoid a direct hit on the lens—usually works.
Mainly, be careful they don’t appear in the picture. Zoom lenses give more problems than fixed focal length lenses, because as the angle of view widens, the chance of getting the edge of the hood in the picture is greater. Therefore the supplied lens hood with a zoom lens is designed for the widest angle of view. As you switch to a longer focal length the use of an extended hood is possible. Of the round and petal shapes, petal shapes are better because the hood is designed to match the oblong shape of the sensor.
Artistic effects such as creating drama, a feeling of realism, in a silhouette, are all possible subjects where flare could help. Bright rays shining through trees—the early morning feeling—is an example of the so called veiling flare. This washes out color and contrast too but adds to the impression.
A word of warning. Use manual focus and experiment. Auto focus tends to latch onto the brightest part of the subject, which won’t be your intention with this kind of photography. You will need to look at the result to see if you’re getting the effects you want.
Everything depends on your original intention and perception, as in all creative work, as to whether the effects are good or bad. Used effectively, flare is a good way of expressing a feeling of light and airiness, drama, morning, hope, freedom, amongst others. The best way is to achieve it is to go try it. Get out of bed early. Meet the sunrise, find a subject, put the light just outside the viewfinder and experiment. You may surprise yourself. And if you miss it you can always add it in later in software. (But the real ones look better.) Happy shooting.
About the Author
John Rundle is a professional photographer and recently retired head of photography at the Australian International College of Art. He teaches workshops on photographic topics in Australia and New Zealand. He is also active as a musician and musical director.
Here are some more examples of lens flare:
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