I think so many people take rather standard, run-of-the-mill pet photos in large part because pet photography has been pigeon-holed into that standard “traditional” backdrop world. For so long, you either chased a pet around outside and hoped for the best or you placed them on some sort of backdrop or background (that they couldn’t ruin) and used traditional lighting techniques.
We are here to help you break out of that box! First and foremost, pet photography deserves the same level of consideration and artful approach as any other type of photographic work. Whether your style is that of a life-style shooter or you favor the more traditional timeless poses for pets, there are ways to ramp it up!
Take lighting for instance. I am a loyal fan of David Hobby’s hugely popular website, Strobist. His site is largely about one thing – using off-camera flash – inexpensively. Many times we are blessed with beautiful lighting conditions. Often times, though, we are not. Or if we do find that beautiful light we have an uncooperative dog who’s just not going to go there! Going the extra mile to understand your lighting options can greatly expand your pet photography repertoire. In this photo, the day was dreary and dark. A little extra bit of light, held camera-left by the owner, really helped this image pop.
I believe when you start thinking of pet portraits as works of art, and begin to use light, both natural and artifical, in creative ways, you will find yourself creating some wonderful pet images!