Pet photography takes patience. It takes a good deal of preparedness. It also requires a pet that wants their photo taken. 🙂
My cat, actually my daughter’s cat, is not a fan of the camera. She is not the most responsive when you call her name. When she does return your calling out her name, she tends to throw you a look of, “really, I am resting. Leave me be.”
All that in mind, I figured the best shot I could get of Ava was going to be of Ava, being Ava. On the afternoon I decided it was her turn to oblige me and become a Pet Photography client of mine, I found her resting peacefully on one of her favorite chairs. Opposed to trying to move her somewhere that would be more conducive to a good shot, I moved to her. I kept the lighting simple, and decided the less I tried to control the situation, the better off I would be. The better the results would be.
Once I was ready, on my knees, hand-holding the camera, I began to click a paperclip on the barrel of my camera lens. This caught her attention. She looked right at the paperclip – which for intense and purposes appeared as though she was staring into the lens. It took perhaps five attempts to get the shot “just right.” I quoted that because I feel that in pet photography, as I do in traditional portraits, most shots are not about what I want, they are about connecting to the personality of the subject and allowing that to show. Allowing those individual characteristics run the show. For Ava, and I feel this characteristic is a common one among cats… leave me alone.
My point, and what I hope you take away from this, is that my direction in photography is to not force things to happen. Pet Photography is no different than any other type of portraiture. Do not force it to happen. Allow it happen and be prepared to capture it when it does.