Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Superhero Sidekick Calendar Contest
RANCHO RANTA FE (KUSI) – In the world of Instagram, Facebook, and social brags, our pets may be our best asset. Every day, Helen Woodward Animal Center relies on great photos to get pets adopted.
Helen Woodward Animal Center PR Director Jessica Gercke with orphan pup joined Good Morning San Diego to share some important photo-taking tips to get the most “likes” on photos of your furry babies.
Use Natural Light
You don’t necessarily have to worry about flashes and complicated lighting setups when taking photos of pets. The best option is to use natural, continuous light that won’t frighten them or cause red-eye in your images. Whether you’re using ambient or studio lights, the general rule is to go for bright, diffused light that will help create more flattering portraits.
If you’re shooting outdoors, overcast days are often best for providing even, diffused lighting. Days filled with sunshine present more challenges for photo sessions than overcast days, so if it’s cloudy, don’t fret.
Shoot Where They’re Comfortable
The most basic aim in pet photography is to capture your best friend’s character and personality. You’re less likely to get this if they’re in an unfamiliar place, such as a studio. Head out to a park or to your backyard and allow your pet to relax and loosen up. This should help them feel—and look—more comfortable for the camera.
Get Down to Their Level
Everybody is used to seeing pets from above, so photos from that angle may not be as striking. For best results, shoot them in their world—from way down below. Depending on the pet breed, you may have to crouch with your camera or lie on your belly just to level the camera with your pooch. The objective is to shoot from their eye level or even lower, where you can get the best view of their expressions.
Grab Their Attention
Getting a pet’s attention is one of the most important skills to develop for photographing furry friends. If you wish to make them hold still, try this simple trick: let them play quietly and, once you’re ready with the camera aimed and your finger on the shutter, call for your pet’s attention. Click the shutter the second they look in your direction and you’ll be able to capture them with their full attention on you and your camera.
Once you have their attention, you may be able to capture a couple of easy shots of them sitting still. Be careful not to make any sudden movements as this will most likely make them jump up and follow you. Move slowly and avoid making eye contact as you change positions or reach out for a prop. If they do start to move or play, keep shooting in burst mode for the best chance at a good action shot!
Focus on the Eyes
You may want to watch out for and capture that perfect puppy dog eyes moment, whether or not they’re looking straight at your camera. Expression and personality in the eyes will always result in more engaging pet photos.
Capture Their Character
Even better than a cute closeup of your pet is a photo of them that conveys their character. If your pet is the playful type, you should definitely add a picture of him in action in your proposed shot list. If the pet loves lounging around, take a snap of him yawning while lying in his favorite bed. Those precious photos will definitely be for keeps!
Pets obviously can’t follow specific instructions unless they’re trained by a professional. At the same time, they’re known to absorb human energy, so if you end up getting stressed out or frustrated, they’ll sense it and will begin to mirror your feelings.
The worst thing you can do is to raise your voice and repeatedly command them to do certain things, as this will only confuse or freak out your pet. If they ever do stay still, you’ll get photos of them with flat ears and concerned eyes that don’t look good on camera. Remember, they can sense what you’re feeling, so the more relaxed you are, the higher the chances of you getting a decent shot. It helps to remember that you can correct lots of small issues in Lightroom and Photoshop. Focus on the dog having a good time during his session, and don’t worry about little glitches like drool or dirt that you can fix later.
Reward Your Pet
Don’t forget to pay your model! Throughout the shoot, offer them something that they really like to keep them motivated and to encourage them to cooperate. The reward is up to you, and it can be anything from treats and toys to belly rubs and other forms of affection. Treats can even serve as bait, props, or tools that can help warm up your pet for the camera. Use rewards to make the shoot more fun and enjoyable, as it should be!
When you get a great shot, you can enter Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 2022 Superhero Sidekick Calendar Contest and support orphan pets!
The pet with the most votes will be Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Official “Superhero Sidekick” and will be awarded with the following prizes:
• A full-page feature in the 2022 Helen Woodward Animal Center calendar
• Guest seat at the 2022 Surf Dog Costume Contest Judge’s Panel
• 2 silver tickets to the 2022 Spring Fling Gala
In addition, the 1st place and 2nd place runner-ups will be awarded prizes. The top 12 pets with the most votes will also have a full-page feature in the 2022 Helen Woodward Animal Center calendar.
All other entries will appear in photo montage squares throughout the calendar.
Photo submissions and votes require a minimum tax-deductible donation to support the orphan pets and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center. Please see contest rules for more information.
For more information about the Superhero Sidekicks Calendar, visit www.animalcenter.org or https://www.gogophotocontest.com/helenwoodwardanimalcenter.