Meet My Pet: Tutorial No. 1 - SUBMISSION & VOTING CLOSED

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Meet My Pet: Portrait Photograph

Let's get this off to an easy start, all great pictures are about great light. There are a number of tricks and secrets we will reveal to you to help you find that light even in your own home!

So, since we don't all have studios, flashes and assistants we are going to make sure these challenges don't require lots of expensive equipment, and you don't have to buy anything
to join in.

For portraits, natural light has always been a favorite of professional photographers and artists alike, what do we mean by natural light? Daylight, or the sun as we know him :) One of the easiest ways of controlling daylight is through a window. That's right, a window... The only think you need to make sure of, is that the sun isn't shining straight through the window onto your furry friend. It can be a cloudy day, a sunny day... The window gives lovely light for 3 good reasons:

1. It is a big light (most windows are quite large, french doors are even better)
2. It is a soft light (as long as the sun isn't shining right in) and soft lighting is great.
3. It is a directional light (not bad directional like a light in the ceiling, but good directional like from the side).

All you have to do is trust us here, a window is your best friend when taking pictures!

So, how do you position your pet I hear you ask. Simple, a great place to put them is so they line up with the far side of the window frame! You can have them slightly facing the window (maybe at 45deg) on the windowsill (for cats and small dogs) on the floor by a large french door, in a chair next to a high window... and so on. Experiment and you will see what we mean... Oh and turn off your flash (if your camera has one).

Some other tips for better picture taking (these work for children too by the way :) ):

1. Find a good angle, get down to your dogs or cats level, or even lower... Or get right up close to them and look right down on them. Just explore and find an interesting angle to take the picture.
2. Choose a striking pose, or a humerus one. Profiles for cats and dogs can look very striking. So can extreme front on portraits... Is their tongue out, are they smiling...
3. Groom your little lovely. You would be surprised how a quick once over with a brush can smarten them up! You could even style them a bit :)
4. Keep the background as clean as possible.
5. Turn off indoor lights.

Most of all, express your Dog or Cat's character in this picture, show them off as the little lovely they are. This is Brandi, my miniature poodle:

There is a grey wall behind her, and a window to her left and she is a nervous but loving little poddle, smart as a button :)