Five recommendations for family pictures with pets from Kensington photographer, Nan Phelps
We want to help photo contestants get the best photo of their pet. For purposes of the Patch contest you can always crop the human(s) out of the photo to showcase your pet.
1. Leave the leash off the dog or it will have to be retouched out later.
2. If possible have the people sit in chairs or on steps, or on the ground where the cat/dog can be an equal member. This also allows everyones' faces, even the pet's, to be closer together.
3. Have the pet be with the person he loves the most and who can handle him.
4. Turn a dog somewhat sideways, so as to get the best shape of the dog and also to minimize indecent exposure.
5. Tell the humans that you are concentrating on the pet's expression, and that they must look at the camera while you are trying to get the pet's expression right. Use a word that usually get's the pet's attention - like 'treat' or 'squirrel'. With many pets, when the photographer uses the word they will look at the photographer with ears up and eyes alert. This also makes the humans laugh.
Pets really turn up the joy in a family portrait. They love being a part of things and are always smiling.
Last minute technical tips
1. Lighting - shade versus sunlight. Shade is best.
2. Take many, many pictures to get one good photo.
3. Keep distractions to a minimum.
4. Watch busy backgrounds and moving objects that can ruin a photo.