3 Top Tips for Amazing Pet Photos

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Listen to Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder, and Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio chat all about pet photography. Tune in to learn tips for getting great photos of your pets. You are safe inside with them, so fill up your phone storage with beautiful pet photos!

3 Top Tips For Amazing Pet Photos

We all LOVE taking pictures of our pets. Learn tips for getting great photos of your pets, including some fun apps to help you out! Silver Paw Studio has all the tips!

Posted by BlogPaws on Tuesday, April 7, 2020

 

This video is part of the Pet Voices LIVE series. CLICK HERE to see the full schedule of videos.

INTRODUCTION

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:05

Welcome to Pet Voices LIVE! We are so excited to have you here and I am thrilled today. I am Chloe DiVita, a Co-Founder of All Pet Voices formerly known as BlogPaws for those of you who were a part of our BlogPaws phenomenon.

And today I have with me, Monique. She’s from Silver Paw Studio and we’re going to talk about three tips to get you taking amazing pet photos because I know we’re all home, right Monique?

We’re so happy to have Monique here with us. She is a FURtographer, if you can’t tell from her shirt, and she is the owner of Silver Paw Studio in northern Colorado. Her mission is to empower you to tell your tales with tails through photography and videography.

She has Bailey, a little fluffy mixed dog, Bruno and Ingrid, two finches, and saltwater and freshwater fish. They all live very happily with her husband Steve in beautiful Loveland, Colorado.

She’s got a podcast and YouTube and all these wonderful things. And she’s spoken before at the events we used to hold and has amazing tips to share with us today.

So Monique, we’ve known each other for a while now. I’ve been privileged to not only learn from you but see some of your fantastic photography, which I know at the moment is pretty much just of your pets at home. I think a lot of us are in that boat right now where we are, you know, looking for some tips.

I know I mentioned this in the newsletter that went out but I have a little bit of a competition going with my husband around which one of us takes better photos of our pets. I compete with all of the pets, so my dogs, my neighbor’s dogs, the cats that visit us, the birds at our feeder, the squirrels, any furry thing that comes my way, I’m taking photos of. I know if I just took a minute, I’m sure I could take more amazing photos.

Photography these days is just such an art. I think it’s always been an art but it’s turned into the phone and being accessible so that we’re all able to take these amazing photos. I know that that’s your passion, so share with me what can we do? What’s out there that we can take advantage of?

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 2:26

Oh Chloe, I could talk for hours and hours, but we’re gonna keep this short. I do have my top three tips for cell phone photography I’m going to talk about today. I recorded a video about that on YouTube a few months ago, so you can recap there too.

We are, a lot of us, at home right now. And my dog kind of prefers social distance anyway. And there’s a lot of people with foster dogs and cats that need to take pictures even now. So I’m hoping some of these tips will help and then I can’t help it. I have a couple bonus tips in there as well.

And yeah, Bailey is not going to join us. She’s sleeping. She’s had a busy day in the office. She got the employee of the day award.

 

TOP THREE TIPS

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 3:14

So my top three tips are really fairly simple. And you were saying how photography has just changed so much. You know, with me staying home right now. Am I still a photographer if I can’t use my big fancy camera? Well, yeah. Let’s be creative, right? I can go on and on. But let’s start with these top three tips.

The first one that I always tell people, this sounds really simple, but I have had professional photographers hand me their phone and say “Could you please take a picture of me doing this?” and I can’t find their darn camera. So have your camera on your home screen. Mine’s BAM! right there all the time. Have it handy. If your pet’s doing something, you want to be quick and stealthy. I even have it on the lock screen where I don’t even have to unlock my phone.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 4:03

Yes, yes. Gosh, thank you for that. I love that. And I’m going to add that. Remember that you did it. Because I actually did this recently and I keep forgetting, so I go in and I’m opening my phone, unlocking it, and trying to get it. By then the dogs are done doing their funny thing. And I forgot that I actually have it on my lock screen.

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 4:19

Yes, yes. Some phones you can program it and some phones it just kind of comes like that. So this is awesome. I have it right there on my home screen. It’s crazy where we try to bury it but put it right there.

So that’s one and part B of one is… Clean off all of the lenses. We put these in our pockets, we touch them all day, our dogs lick them, and whatever else happens to our phone. You know we have a recipe on the kitchen counter.

This has one, two, three, four, AND five lenses. Clean them all. They’re not as tender as these kinds, so you could use your t-shirt. But definitely, I can’t tell you how many people are like “I remembered and my pictures turned out so much better.” So you know, you just kind of wipe them off. Every single time. So that’s part B of number one.

Number two is very specifically for pets, I call it “End Camera Hate”. I have had many, many, many, many people come to me and they say “My dog hates having its picture taken. They hate it. Every time I do this, they walk away.”

So I have a theory on that. It is… you are breaking that connection. So Chloe, right now if I do this and you can’t see my face. You’re like, walking away. I can’t see you. I can’t communicate with you and your dogs and your cats, they’re very in tune with that. If you say something to them and they can’t see your face, they’re like “Well, whatever, I guess she’s playing on her phone.” You know? So I really think there’s a lot to getting this out of being a barrier.

So a couple of things with that is you can have your phone just down here and still be talking to them. You know? So my pet is right here. Talk to them that way.

Another really great thing is many people have these little PopSockets on them now or a handle. Turn your phone upside down. The awesome thing is the lense is now down here. If you have a short animal, it’s much closer to them. You could really talk to them directly and still have that camera straight on to them. The trigger finger is like right there anyway, so end “camera hate” by taking the phone out from in between the two of you. Don’t let your phone come between you and your pets.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 6:32

No, we don’t want that. Okay. All right. So we’ve got first and foremost get that easy button on your lockscreen, on your home screen right here. Get those lenses clean and then use that eye contact. Don’t let that camera invade it. So those are the first couple. What is your last?

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 6:51

Yeah, my last one and this one might be a little bit older now but is… use that “Pro Camera”, “Dual Camera”, or “Portrait Mode.” iPhones have “Portrait Mode” and androids have “Pro Mode.” And what they’re doing is they’re using all the different cameras. So you’re going to get that creamy backdrop that you might get from these bigger cameras with the setting called aperture, but what your phone is doing is it’s taking both cameras and using both of them. So this camera is kind of blurring out the background and this camera is getting your dog or cat or your person in focus. It really gives that nice little bit more professional look to them. And they’ve improved those over the years.

I know I have an Android now. And there are several different modes of that “Pro Mode” or “Live Focus.” Mine’s called “Live Focus,” and there’s several ways and you can even adjust it later. A couple of caveats to that are that you have to be a certain distance away. For those cameras to be able to do this correctly, they need some spacing. So you’re gonna have to be maybe a little farther than having them just snuggle on the couch next to you. It probably won’t work that close. But if they’re at the other end of the couch, you can get that blurriness. Why you want to do that is to get all the focus onto their face. So you want their face to be what’s the sharpest in that picture.

And so those are my top three. How are we doing on time? Can I give a couple more?

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 8:20

You can and I have a question before we move on because it’s something that comes up.

So we’ve got our top three… Get that, you know, linked to your camera right easy to access, get those lenses clean too because I know that is one I’m guilty of. I use a lotion a lot and I find lotion can kind of get on the lense, so I had to clean it. So clean it. Then get that eye contact going so your camera isn’t in the way and then use “Portrait Mode” or “Pro Mode,” whatever your phone has.

So I have “Portrait Mode.” I have an iPhone, and one of the things I find is that… I don’t even know what it is… like a little square that will pop up. I feel like it’s the cameras asking me what is the thing that you want me to focus on. Sometimes I hit it and sometimes I don’t. Can you tell me what the difference is if I just ignore it? Or if I actually touch my screen and give it that direction? What does that do?

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 9:08

Yeah, I think it’s trying to find the face in the picture. So sometimes like on mine, the square will be down here. And so then you’re going to have like this part in focus and your eyes are going to be blurry. So whenever you can, kind of tap that space where you want their face.

Something I’ve been experimenting with on the “Pro Mode” is selfies with hands off. So you can set a timer. Prop your phone up somewhere, like I did this the other day with my dog. So I just propped it up on something I had outside and set the timer and just like DING!

 

DIY PHONE STAND

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 9:46

I have lots of lots of things, you know, like this is a holder for it. But can I show you a really silly DIY?

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 9:54

Yes. Yeah let’s see it, because we are home and we are DIYing.

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 10:00

Alright, everybody. Everyone. Hopefully… hopefully everyone has this… toilet paper rolls.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 10:08

Wait, it is possible that not right now everybody has.

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 10:11

I know, but you might like… Go through your garbage. No.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 10:15

Paper towel rolls could probably be used too.

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 10:19

Yes. So all you do is you cut slots in them.The width of your phone. Then your phone just sits in it like that. And it’s completely secure. And you could do it this way too.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 10:36

Oh that’s the best DIY.

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 10:37

And if it’s not tall enough, put it on some books. Like Absolutely. Then you could even use that portrait mode. Hit the timer. I’ve taken some amazing pictures of myself with a nice big window light on me. Or with my dog. That’s all you need is a phone stand… toilet paper rolls. You’re welcome.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 10:55

Oh my god. That’s great. The toilet paper roll DIY. I don’t know tripod, I guess. So that’s perfect. And I do think everybody could come up with something similar to that.

 

PHOTOGRAPHING DARK ANIMALS

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 11:07

So you mentioned you have a few other tips. I have one other question before we get to those and it has to do with lighting. Because I know right now we’re in homes. Some of our homes have great lighting and some don’t. So if we are trying to get a really great face photo, and I have black dogs, they’re getting older, so they’re getting kind of gray. But I know black dogs, black cats, black bunnies, black anything. It’s harder to get all you know, or even just really dark brown. You know, any color that doesn’t have contrast, isn’t bright or has some you know, texture to it somehow. It can be hard to get all the, you know, right pieces, so it just doesn’t look like a flat face with eyes. What are your tips for that? How can we change that?

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 11:50

That’s kind of a two fold question. Boy, I could have a whole class just on photographing dark animals. Two things and I have a really great video I put on YouTube a couple weeks ago about photographing animals in your home. So for the lighting question, put your back, YOUR back, against the window like your sliding glass door or a big window, and then put your animal in with all that light falling on their face. A lot of times what happens is our dog is next to the sliding glass door and just gone. So swivel that 180 degrees, it’s gonna be gorgeous, guaranteed.

And when you’re talking about those dark dogs, it’s going to sound counterintuitive, but one thing you can do because your phone has limited ability to read the scene, is put a dark background behind your dark animal. Then your phone sees all dark, instead of a black blob and white and it wants to expose for all the white and make your dog even darker. If it’s darker background and a darker animal, your phone will go “Oh I get it” and then we’ll have proper exposure.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 12:57

Hmm, I did not… that’s a new one for me. I gotta use that one. Yeah. Great. Thank you for that.

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 13:02

Yeah, you’re welcome. If you have some kind of a flash or directional light, a little bit of sidelight on black dogs really helps a lot too. So even if it’s just a lamp or a flash.

 

TWO FUN PHOTO APPS

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 13:14

Thank you for that. Okay, so you have a few quick tips that you want to end with here.

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 13:20

Yes, I have just two really funny apps. And another idea that I have. So a lot of people right now are seeing this little dog, Pluto, and that is using the app My Talking Pet. It’s extremely easy. You need one picture of your dog. Download My Talking Pet app. You can mark where all the features are. Put your own voice in there. Make it squeaky. Done.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 13:45

My friend. I don’t know if you can see this. My friend did it with his cute little terrier.

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 13:49

It’s so fun and it’s so easy. So that’s a really fun one. Especially if you’re trying to post something on social media for whatever reason.

And then the other one it’s going to take a little bit longer. This is especially for people who have a growing puppy or growing kitten. This the one that people use for their kids all the time. It’s the 1 Second Everyday app. There is an app. A lot of people do this to show their child growing up for the whole year. But there’s no reason why you can’t do this for a kitten or a puppy or anybody… or a flower. The 1 Second Everyday app, it goes through your camera roll and knows what day you took things and makes it into a little video. And so my daughter did this with her puppy and I was able to see him grow up within like five minutes.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 14:37

So it does it from photos you already have stored, so you get it and it goes backwards and builds it?

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 14:42

Either way. So if you’re like, “Oh no, my puppy is now six months old,” but I have a camera roll full. You can pull those and then go forward too. Both.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 14:55

Oh my gosh. That’s great. I love that. I might have to do that because I do definitely have much more photos of my pets than say my daughter. She’s not watching, so I can say that.

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 15:07

So that’s it. Those are my two fun apps.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 15:09

I love it. Those sound great. And I so appreciate you sharing your tips with us today and giving us some lightning tips and some dark animal picture tips. And as we’re closing out, I know, Monique, we’re going to share a link to your newsletter so that people can sign up and get this wonderful PDF that you have. Can you tell us a little bit about that as we round out?

Monique Renee, Owner of Silver Paw Studio – 15:27

So the PDF goes over those three tips and gives you some photo examples as well. And then when you sign up, you’ll be part of my pack. And you’ll get my newsletter to which you know, every Friday I put out a video on how tos for pet photography, talk about my podcasts, all kinds of different things. So it’s helpful for anyone wherever you are.

Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 15:50

Amazing. Well thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your wonderful photography lessons with us. And I hope everyone follows Monique. She’s @silverpawstudio. pretty much everywhere so that you can follow her blog see her Instagram follow her amazing photos and continue to learn from her.

And until next time I am Chloe and we are rounding out another Pet Voices LIVE Thanks, everybody.

 
For more information on pet photography and Monique at Silver Paw Studio:

Website – www.silverpawstudio.com

Newsletter Sign Up – bit.ly/thepackbulletin

YouTube – Silver Paw Studio

Instagram – @silverpawstudio

Facebook – Silver Paw Studio

Twitter – @silverpawstudi0