How to take purrfect photos of your best mate

Puppies, kittens, dogs and cats are not easy to photograph, especially when you need to capture an award-winning photo.

STORY KERRY HEANEY

Planning and timing are essential, but there are a few tricks favoured by professional photographers that will give your happy snaps a winning edge.

Here are seven tips to taking a purrfect pet photo:

  1. Taking a great photo requires a lot of patience. Be ready to anticipate the moment to capture the perfect snap.
  2. Know your pet’s habits and favourite treats, and use this information to help stage the photo. When you can predict your pet’s reaction, you will be able to pick the best moment to snap.
  3. Making a strange noise will sometimes be enough to get your dog or cat to look at you for just a second. Try these apps for photographer-tested noises that do the trick – download Pose a Pet for noises, Human-to-Cat Translator for fun cat effects or Dog Squeaky Toy for sounds that might annoy you, but your dog will love.
  4. You’ll need a fast shutter speed and a camera lens that can hold focus on a moving object to capture your pet in mid-air. This usually requires a DSL camera, but there are options if you are using a smartphone. Simply turn off the flash and use the camera in ‘burst’ mode, which takes many photos at once. Hold down the button to snap multiple images, then discard the ones you don’t want to use.
  5. Focus on the eyes. A great pet picture is all about the eyes so they must be in focus.
  6. The fundamentals of photography, such as the rule of thirds, still apply to pet photos. Mentally divide your image into nine equal parts with two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. Important elements of your image should be placed along these lines or their intersections.
  7. Don’t worry about overshooting. It can take many photographs before you get the right one.

Once you have your cat or dog captured forever in a beautiful image, submit the photo to racq.com/petsearch. A panel of ‘pet cuteness experts’ have the hard task of selecting 12 finalists. The winner will take home a $5000 WISH Gift Card and star on the front cover of The Road Ahead magazine in 2018. The remaining 11 finalists will each receive a $500 WISH Gift Card.

All finalists will take part in a professional photo shoot and be featured in the 2018 RACQ Pet Insurance Calendar, which will be sold at RACQ branches across Queensland to help raise much-needed funds for AWLQ. Get in quick and enter your four-legged friends as the Pet Search competition ends August 31, 2017.