A pet is often an uncooperative subject. It may refuse to hold still one minute and then settle into an inaccessible or poorly lit spot the next minute. Pick a setting that helps you control the pet and gain its cooperation.
A familiar spot, such as a dog’s favorite resting place, can relax a pet. An open outdoor space lets you capture a large animal as it roams about. A hamster, gerbil, or cat will often freeze when set on a glass table.
Have the camera loaded and ready. Then kneel down to the pet’s level to get a more revealing, straight-on shot. Move in close for an intimate view that excludes distracting background details. If an animal is restless, quiet it with a bite of food. Evoke a response by talking, whistling, or snapping your fingers. When you see a lively expression, take several shots.
Try to photograph a dog running, leaping to catch a ball, or romping with another dog. Use a shutter speed of 1/250 second or faster to freeze motion. Have someone hold the dog and then release it to run to you or to a bowl of food. Pick a spot along the dog’s route and set the camera for that distance. Shoot just as the dog reaches the spot.
Photographing a cat Try to capture a kitten playing with a toy or a ball of yam. Photograph an older cat settling into a favorite spot, stretching, or cleaning itself. Subdued light is good for close-ups; it makes the cat’s eyes appear brighter. When shooting a pet with a person, show the two playing or gazing at each other or the pet looking on while its owner is absorbed in an activity.
High-speed film (ISO 400 to 1000) lets you shoot in dimmer light, and it freezes action better. If you use a flash, angle it or bounce it off a wall to avoid creating an unnatural glow in the pet’s eyes. If your camera takes other lenses, use a telephoto lens to get can-did close-ups from a distance.