Tips for Photographing Your Pets

by Shannon Esposito

Today is the official release day of FOR PETE’S SAKE (A Pet Psychic Mystery no. 4)!

Because the victim in this mystery is a wedding photographer–who also takes photos of shelter animals to help them get adopted–I thought I’d celebrate the book’s release by sharing some basic tips on how to get great shots of your own pets.  

1)      Background: Be aware of your background. Is there something behind your pet that’s distracting? If you want your pet to be the sole focus, you can use a neutral background like a plain wall, grass or window. 

Tip: Use a wide aperture to create a shallow depth of field (like the example above). To do this, set your camera on “aperture priority” and set the aperture to the lowest f-stop number (ex: 1.4 or 2.8) This will blur the stuff in the background, so your pet will still be the focus of the shot with minimal noise. Just make sure your camera is focused on your pet’s eyes.

2)    Perspective: Get down on your pet’s level. Shooting from a standing position aiming down doesn’t make as nice a photo as shooting them at eye level. Don’t be afraid to lay on the floor with them, get in their world and get a more intimate shot.

3)   Lighting: This one is more complicated. The easiest way to have great lighting is to utilize natural light. Shoot outdoors in either early morning or late evening sun. (Midday sunlight is too harsh.) If you’re shooting indoors, use the natural light coming through a window and have your back to the window.

 If you must use a flash, never use the on-camera flash pointed directly at your pet, as it will cause ugly shadows and harsh lighting. Fill-flash is fine. It’s just a little burst of flash that will fill in the shadows and give your pet’s a little “catch light” gleam in their eye. (Example above)

4)      Shutter speed: Pets can be hard to photograph if they’re active. The best way to combat this is with a fast shutter speed. You can set your camera to “shutter priority” mode. Keep in mind that the faster the shutter speed, the more light you will need. Or if your camera has a “sports mode” this will also automatically set a high shutter speed for you. I also recommend shooting in continuous focus mode instead of single shot.

That’s the basics. Have any other tips or tricks to share?

FOR PETE’S SAKE (A Pet Psychic Mystery No. 4):

A picture perfect wedding in paradise…what could possibly go wrong?

Pet boutique owner and reluctant pet psychic, Darwin Winters, is looking forward to watching her best friend and business partner, Sylvia, say “I do” to the man of her dreams. But when their wedding photographer turns up dead on the big day—and Sylvia’s superstitious mother believes his heart attack is a sign their marriage will be cursed—Sylvia’s dream wedding quickly becomes a nightmare.

Darwin only has a week to help her detective boyfriend prove the photographer’s death was not from natural causes before Sylvia’s family jets back home to Portugal, and the wedding is off for good.

As more than a few suspects come into focus—including Peter’s model clients, a rival photographer and the director of an animal shelter being investigated for fraud—time is running out. With just one clue from the photographer’s orphaned Yorkie pup to go on, can Darwin help save Sylvia’s wedding and capture a killer? Or will both justice and Sylvia’s wedding cake go unserved?

Get your copy here!     AMAZON      BARNES & NOBLE      iBOOKS

Posted by Shannon Esposito. Shannon lives in a magical gulf coast town with fluorescent sunsets, purple dragonflies and the occasional backyard alligator. Her mysteries transport readers to Florida without the hefty price of airfare. She is the author of the Pet Psychic Mystery series set in St. Petersburg, Florida and the Paws & Pose Mysteries set on the ritzy, fictional island of Moon Key and featuring doga instructor Elle Pressley and her canine sidekick, Buddha.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

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  • Reply
    Mae Clair
    November 1, 2016 at 9:01 am

    What a cute cover on that book. And I love the sound of the tale (or should I say tail, LOL). I enjoyed the photography tips, too. I just adopted a shelter cat the end of September and have been going camera happy, although I’m just using my iPhone. I really like the recommendation of getting down on your pet’s level to shoot. Such a simple thing to do and yet I can see how that would make so much difference.

    Thanks again for the tips and sending you all the best with For Pete’s Sake. I’m going to hop over to Amazon and take a look-see.

  • Reply
    Shannon Esposito
    November 1, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Congrats on your new family member, Mae! You can actually get some good results with the iPhone, just use the lighting suggestions above instead of the flash. And there are some great apps that let you simulate shallow depth of field like Big Lens & Snapseed. Have fun!

    ps. If you haven’t read the Pet Psychic series yet, you should probably start with book 1 (Karma’s A Bitch) which is free right now. 🙂

  • Reply
    Pet Psychic Book 4 Release Day! | Shannon Esposito
    November 1, 2016 at 9:46 am

    […] celebrate, we’re talking pet photography tips over at misterio press. Come say […]

  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    November 1, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Love this post, Shannon! Animals are such moving targets. I too like the idea of getting down at their level. Although I may need some help getting back up again…lol

    • Reply
      Shannon Esposito
      November 2, 2016 at 8:46 am

      LOL! Yeah, we do have to think about these things as we get older I guess. 🙂

  • Reply
    K.B. Owen
    November 1, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Congrats on your new release, Shannon! And great tips on photography. If I ever get anything other than a point-and-shoot camera, I know who to call!

    • Reply
      Shannon Esposito
      November 2, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Thanks, Kathy! You can still use the lighting & perspective tip with a point and shoot. The phones are getting better and better, too. I use my Galaxy a lot for photos now & have a few apps I play around with. So much fun!

  • Reply
    Vinnie Hansen
    November 1, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I especially love the photo of the boxer. (At least, I think it’s a boxer. Is it?) And congratulations on the new release!

    • Reply
      Shannon Esposito
      November 2, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Thanks, Vinnie… I’m not sure what she is. We rescued her when she was five weeks old (the puppy pic is her) and were told she was mastiff. But, I think maybe boxer/pit. She’s the sweetest, most neurotic dog I’ve ever had. She’s not supposed to be on the bed but she looked more proud of herself than guilty lol!

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