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How To Take Close-Up Portraits of Your Pets

Pets are a great macro and close-up photographic subject, but their level of cooperation in posing for images can vary quite a lot. If your pet sits in one spot for long periods of time, or moves slowly, such as a bird or a snake, then you should have an easy time photographing it. However, other pets might not be so willing to cooperate.

Curiosity is a big factor in adding difficulty to pet close-ups. When you stick your camera in a cat or dog’s face, they want to know why you’re doing such a thing. They may think there’s something you expect them to do with it, and this can cause them to sniff at it or lick it.

Be sure to use a lens hood or a UV filter (a clear glass filter placed on the front of a lens) to protect the surface of your lens from the animal’s wet nose and tongue.

When photographing your pets, use techniques for dealing with movement such as using the auto-focus mode that works for you. Most digital SLRs are equipped with an auto-focusing mode designed to produce sharp images when dealing with moving subjects (usually labeled as auto-servo, or AI Servo).

But, have patience since animals are less likely to listen to your direction, and many times they move more quickly and sporadically than humans do.

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100mm, 1/500, f/4, 100

By giving the animal some time to get used to the environment and the camera, you may get some opportunities to capture great images after it’s calmed down and grown less curious. The portrait of this dog was captured once the dog grew less suspicious of the lens.

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