published on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. EDT
If you’ve ever tried to photograph your pets, you know that capturing good portraits of your furry friends isn’t always easy. Fortunately, professional wildlife photographer Adam Goldberg is here to help with five tips to help you take better pet portraits in a studio environment. By studio, we mean a controlled environment where you have artificial lighting. You don’t need a complicated setup and a bunch of lights. That said, some of Goldberg’s advice also applies outside of this situation.
Goldberg’s first piece of advice is to pay close attention to captured lights. A light catch is the reflection of a light source or light modifier into a subject’s eyes. It’s a specular highlight that adds a lot of life and vibrancy to any portrait. Depending on the size of the subject, you may need to adjust the position of the lights to ensure a good bright light intake.
Capture lights will help add “life” to your pet portraits, and toys will help bring out your subject’s personality. Goldberg’s second tip is to make sure you have toys handy, like a squeaky toy, tennis ball, or anything that makes noise. Squeaky toys are a great way to get a dog’s attention, especially if he is toy motivated. If you have your camera in your dominant hand, you can hold a small squeaky toy in your other hand to make a dog look you straight in the eye.
Speaking of looking you straight in the eye, just like wildlife photography, animal portrait photography is enhanced when you’re on the same level as your subject. When you’re photographing pets, you don’t want to look at them with your lens, you want to bend down to be level with them.
To see the rest of Goldberg’s advice on pet portraits, watch the full video above. To see more of his work, you can visit his website and follow him on instagram. After all, who doesn’t want to see more animal portraits?
If you want to further improve your pet portraiture skills, you can watch two more B&H videos below.
(Going through B&H)