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Tips From a Photo Pro for Perfect Pet Pictures!

By: Matt Terranova

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Is Fido ready for his close-up? If you're like most pet owners you love taking pictures of your pride and joy romping in the park, walking along the beach or just hanging out with you. Still, most photographers know that working with animals can be a challenge, and it's often a struggle to get any decent photos.

To help, Lexar Media, a leader in advanced digital media and accessories, turned to Nick Kelsh, one of the company's Elite Photographers and the author of "How to Photograph Your Life." Nick offers these easy-to-follow tips for making your furry friend a big star...

  • All the Light Moves: This is my best tip -- photograph your pet in great light. For animals, that's almost always natural light. So turn off your flash and go outside. The light next to a large window or open door or late day sunlight makes all animals (and people) look great. It's all about the light.

  • A Little Closer... Closer...Perfect! Get close to your pet, whether it's a horse or a goldfish. Fill the frame with the animal you love and leave out all of that distracting other stuff like lawn furniture and telephones.

  • Think Rapid Fire: Push the button a lot. It increases your luck factor. All the great photographers shoot many pictures to get one perfect one. The digital
    camera is a gift from the photography gods. There are no film costs.

  • Find the Perfect Backdrop: Look for backgrounds that will contrast against your pet. In other words, if you have a black dog look for a light colored background.
    If you have a white cat look for a dark background. It's not unreasonable to spend half of your photographing time considering your background.

  • Look on the Bright Side: Error on the side of over-exposure. Fur absorbs light, which makes things darker. You want detail. If you make everything a little brighter by over-exposing you will simply see more and with furry creatures
    that's almost always a good thing.

  • Get Down to Pet Level: Keep your camera at the animal's eye level. You want to avoid having all of your pet pictures taken from a human eye's view, which is to say, looking down. Get down on your hands and knees if you have to.

  • "Strut for Me Baby!" If you really want to take some great pets pictures, plan a photo session (one hour is not unreasonable) and pretend you're an artist directing your favorite model. Play with your camera. Fun is a big part of taking pictures. You can't do that if you don't know how to use your camera. The instruction manual is your friend. Read it again.

  • Longer Is Better: Use a long lens. Zoom in. That will throw through the background out of focus, which is another way to give contrast between the background and your pet.

  • Be Ready to Pounce: Animals are naturally uncooperative so it's up to you to anticipate the best moments to shoot pictures. Maybe it's a cat napping in a
    windowsill. Perhaps your dog likes to rest his head in your lap. Work
    with your pets. You really don't have much choice.

  • Experiment: Digital cameras mean no film costs, so experiment. You can take wonderful pictures without looking through the camera. (Those of us in the business call this a "Hail, Mary" and for good reason.) Pre- focus your camera at 12 inches (see your instruction manual) and then hold the camera 12 inches from your pets face without using the viewfinder. Of course, luck is required, but you will be surprised how often this works.

  • The Eyes Have It: When photographing a living creature, it's almost always best to focus on the eyes. Make the eyes sharp. It's where people look first.

  • Share The Love: Don't forget to photograph your pets in group settings with the people they care about most. After all, that's what it's all about. Love and relationships.

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