I love pet photos as much as the next pet owner, but I think people can come up with better ideas that what are usually on the table. For one thing, taking a picture of your dog sleeping is pretty obvious. Yes, it’s true that this is when it’s going to be easiest to take the picture, but that’s why these pictures tend to be boring. There’s no learning curve and anyone can take pictures like these and make them look reasonably good.
There’s also the fact that someone sleeping is doing something that’s inherently boring anyway, and even photographing a boring subject in a pretty way isn’t going to make for a gripping photograph. Your dog or your cat may look adorable even when he or she is sleeping – I don’t deny that for a second. Taylor looks cute when he’s doing anything, even if it’s chewing on my shoes. Yeah, he somehow makes that cute. However, most people would prefer a photograph of him chewing on my shoes to a photo of him sleeping.
If you can actually catch your pet in the act of doing something really naughty, you definitely have a keeper when it comes to a picture. I mean, you may not actually want your dog to chew on your shoes or your cat to knock something over in an effort to get your attention, but all of those incidents will fade. The picture will last forever, and if you get something like that on film, it’s going to be funny to you rather than actively irritating. I actually did manage to get a picture of Taylor chewing on my shoes as well as a video, and I don’t even miss the shoes any more.
Naturally, you don’t need something on that level to make the picture funny. A picture of your pet playing in almost any way can be adorable and memorable. This does mean that you’re going to have to master the art of photographing subjects in motion, but plenty of other people have managed to do that over and over again, and you should be able to do the same thing. These kinds of pictures make for really dynamic photographs, which will make them more interesting to look at immediately.
However, the important thing to remember is that animals have emotions, too. We don’t photograph people all that often when their faces are completely expressionless and neutral. We tend to take pictures of them smiling when the pictures are positive, and we take pictures of them when they’re angry or afraid when we want more dramatic pictures.
Your pets express emotions as well. You can tell when your dog is happy because he’ll start wagging his tail. Your cat will do the opposite to express her dissatisfaction with whatever it is you’re doing. Their entire body language will change under circumstances like these. Pets in general tend to communicate a lot with their bodies, since they do not tend to have much in the way of facial expressions. Photographing them when you can tell that they’re in a non-neutral emotional state can make all the difference.