While wedding photos, pictures of children and family portraits are generally the more popular choice of images for printing onto canvas, for some people, their babies are more of the furry kind -and our pets can make the perfect subject for cute canvas prints. Of course the problem is that our canine and feline friends aren't necessarily as compliant and cooperative when it comes to posing for photos - so here are our top 10 tips for taking photos of animals, so that you can print them onto canvas and let your adored pets adorn your walls.
- Introduce them to your camera - cats and dogs are inquisitive creatures, but can be startled easily if you start shoving a camera in their face when they're not expecting it. Take the time to let your pet familiarise itself with your camera; let them have a sniff around and show yourself handling it in front of them so they know it’s nothing to fear.
- Choose your time - straight after a visit to the vets or when they're hungry won’t provide the best opportunity to start taking pictures. Use your knowledge of your pets to work out when they are at their most relaxed and happy and schedule your photographic shoot to fit around this.
- Be spontaneous - ok, this may go against the last point a little, but if you're not looking for a specific type of shot, then it can pay to have your camera to hand all the time, ready to capture those one-off little moments or to snap a few pictures as the fancy takes you. This will give you plenty to choose from when it comes to identifying the images you want to print onto canvas.
- Passive or active - if you want some really dynamic images, then take your animal photographs during a play session, whether that’s indoors, in the garden or even at the park if you've got a pet pooch. If you want a more passive and dreamy photo, then get shooting when your pet is starting to settle down for a snooze.
- Props - a dog with a bone in its mouth, a kitten in a wicker basket, a cat nose-to-nose with a toy mouse, a puppy in an old boot... the options for choosing props to add an extra dimension to your animal images are almost endless. Choose a favourite toy (unless it's overly worn and chewed to within an inch of its life!), hunt around the house or buy something specific. You can even set out several different items if you've got space and let your pet choose what to play with.
- Natural light – this is always best for taking photos of animals. A strong flash can frighten animals, sending them scarpering and ending the session before it's even started and it can also cause a serious case of red-eye due to be highly reflective properties of animals’ eyes. Use a well lit room or go outside so that you can make the most of the natural light you have available.
- Focus on the eyes - some principles of animal photography are the same as taking pictures of humans. Make the eyes a focal point; they’re full of expression and can be really captivating.
- Get down to their level - shoot from above and you'll just get lots of bland and boring shots of your pet's head and back. You need to see the world from their point of view, so get down on the floor and shoot from their perspective for the best results.
- Be patient - adults are easy to photograph, babies less so, but animals can be a nightmare! They don't understand instructions, so the best advice you can heed is to be patient. It might take hours, days or even weeks to get the image that you want for printing onto your canvas, so chill out, enjoy the journey and lower your expectations!
- Enlist an extra pair of hands - it helps to interact with your pet while taking photos of them, but this isn't easy if you're holding a camera and constantly trying to get into different positions. Getting someone else to help, ideally someone your pet knows and trusts, means that they can get their attention, guide them towards the camera and play with toys to help engage them while you snap away.
We love printing photos of pets onto canvas, but appreciate that it’s not always an easy task getting the right shot – but we hope that these tips will help!