How to Take Great Pictures of Your Black Cat
How to Take Pictures of Your Black Pet
Pet photography is a rewarding hobby that can spotlight the smaller members of a family. While light-colored animals show up in most photographs, pets with darker skin or fur require a bit more care to capture properly. Choosing the right environment, nailing the lighting, and utilizing simple camera techniques will make any hard-to-photograph animal shine.
Setting the Scene
Choose a light, muted backdrop.For subjects that are difficult to photograph, a light-colored background can provide helpful contrast. Look for places with muted primary colors or pastels. Avoid dark backgrounds, bold primary colors, and neons so your pet isn’t overshadowed by their surroundings.
- Sharp white backgrounds can create uncomfortably high contrast with jet black pets. For a more pleasing look, try off-white, beige, or a light color instead.
Choose a clean, simple environment.Busy places may look cool, but they will draw people’s eyes away from your pet. Look for backgrounds comprised of simple textures or uniform patterns. Wood tables, light quilts, and similar household objects can make a photo appear casual while avoiding the dullness of a single-colored wall.
- Thematic backgrounds like bookshelves can bring extra life to your image, just make sure they appear uniform and don’t pull focus away from your pet.
Remove clutter from the area.Before taking your photo, make sure you clean up the area. Look for dust or spills that can be cleaned and pick up any trash. Remove objects that are large or brightly colored so they don’t distract from your pet.
Grab a prop.To help create an impactful scene, try grabbing a toy or other prop. This will make your photo more dynamic and give your pet something to focus on. Bones, chew toys, and scratching posts can help a photo appear natural and less staged, while human objects like cards, game controllers, and sporting equipment can lead to hilarious results.
- For whimsical and holiday shoots, put your pet in a hat or costume for fun or silly results. Bright costumes will even help dark animals stick out by defining their figure.
Keep treats and shiny objects on hand.Pets aren’t always as cooperative as people, so have treats on hand to keep them still, happy, and engaged. To help animals figure out where to look, use your fingers or a shiny, noticeable object to grab and direct their attention.
Adjusting the Lights
Get exposure for your image.To make your pet stand out, you’ll need all the light you can get. If possible, take the photo outside or near a window to take advantage of the sun. If you’re stuck indoors, look for a room with lots of lighting fixtures.
- For gorgeous outdoor lighting, try shooting right after sunrise and right before sunset. These are known as golden hours and will make your image appear warm and soft.
Use lamps to add additional light.For many photos, especially those taken indoors, additional light may be necessary to get a good shot. You can use lamps, flashlights, and other household staples to brighten the overall image or emphasize certain features on your pet. The direction of light will alter how a subject looks, so test your lamps at different positions to find the best result.
- If your camera has a black and white mode, turn it on and check if you can see your pet clearly. If not, try moving your lighting fixtures until you can.
Diffuse your lights for a softer look.Lightbulbs naturally give off hard light, which makes a subject look coarse and rough. This may be perfect for guard dogs, but it probably won’t work for poodles. To soften your lights, place a thin fabric or lampshade in front of each bulb, allowing the light to spread over your entire subject.
Put a rim-light behind your pet.A rim light refers to any light positioned behind the subject. They are designed to create extra separation between parts of an image and work especially well for dark-colored pets, making sure their outline doesn’t blend into the background. For the best results, place your rim light to the side of your pet, raise it up, and point it near their shoulders.
- Check your camera to make sure the light source itself isn’t in the image.
Perfecting the Photo
Compose your shot using the rule of thirds.The rule of thirds is a photography principle that makes photos more pleasing to the eye. Divide your image using two evenly spaced vertical and horizontal lines, then position your pet’s eyes or face on one of the areas they intersect. This will make your image more dynamic and fun to look at.
- Many picture apps and cameras have a rule of thirds grid built into them, though they may be off by default.
- The rule of thirds is a great starting place, but don’t let it stop you from trying other photos out. Symmetrical or off-balance pictures are often incredibly beautiful.
Focus on your pet’s eyes.Portrait photographers focus on the eyes because they are dynamic and ensure the rest of the face is clear and sharp. For dark pets in particular, bright or colorful eyes can help people find and concentrate on the animal. For phone cameras, tap your pet’s eyes to focus on them. For lens-based cameras, adjust your lens’ focus ring until the subject’s pupils are clear and sharp, a process known as racking focus.
- If your pet is distracted, hold a treat, toy, or shiny object in your hands to draw their attention to the lens.
Blur the background using a shallow depth of field.A blurred backdrop will hide unwanted or distracting elements and make your pet pop. If you’re using a phone, look for a focus, depth of field, or tilt-shift option. If you have a lens-based camera, change your f-stop to the smallest number you can. This will alter the amount of light the lens takes in, so check and make sure your photo is still properly exposed.
- An extremely shallow depth of field means that, if your subject moves, they will no longer be in focus. Keep this in mind when photographing active or easily distracted pets.
- Some phone apps let you adjust the depth of field only after the photo is taken.
Tweak your photo using image manipulation software.Processing an image can turn a good photo into a spectacular one. Using computer programs like Photoshop or phone apps like Instagram, adjust settings like contrast, brightness, and color balance to help your photo pop. If your photo is off-balance, crop it for a more pleasing composition.
QuestionWhy does it have to be black?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSome of these techniques can be used for pets of other colors. However, techniques such as putting a rim light behind it and using lamps are used to contrast the dark-colored pet.Thanks!
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