How to Photograph Children and Pets

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  By Taya Ivanova
How to Photograph Children and Pets

Children are adorable, pets are little heart melters, and we’re more than eager to photograph them. The equation is simple:

Photography + children + pets = an explosion of indescribable cuteness.

The photo-taking process isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. Children and pet photo shoots require a lot of patience, technical knowledge, and determination. As intimidating as these requirements sound, they’re not impossible to satisfy.

Below, you’ll find tips on how to have successful photoshoots with children and their pets. Before you know it, you’ll be capturing the most heartwarming moments without wearing yourself out!

Shoot in Continuous Mode

Continuous mode is a handy feature that quickly takes several photos while you hold the shutter. This is great for photography genres that are filled with speed or, in our case, playful children and animals.

The best times to use continuous mode are when your subjects are active. Shoot endlessly as they play, run around, and interact with their surroundings. You’ll get a lot of expressive results!

Be Mindful of Your Camera Settings

During your child + pet photo shoot, sharpness and focus should be your priority. Not all camera settings will work during a time like this.

When it comes to shutter speed, shoot from 1/160 of a second. This will help you capture movements sharply. As for the aperture, you want something that will keep your subjects sharp, but not something that will make your entire image look flat. Your f-number, then, shouldn’t be too small (like f/1.8) or too large (like f/16). A good range is anywhere from f/2.5 to f/3.5.

Don’t Worry About Poses

Posing is great

. It strengthens the photographer-model bond, gives you a chance to express yourself accurately, and allows you to improve your social skills. However, it’s something you have to let go sometimes.

Unlike adults, children and pets don’t always listen to instructions. When you feel unheard, just go with the flow and embrace spontaneity. This will allow you to take natural photos of subjects that are completely lost in their own world. It will also strengthen your photography skills. Quickly capturing beautiful moments is much harder than photographing professional models, after all.

Also, be prepared to take blurry, unflattering, and badly lit photographs. Remember that even the most experienced photographers have moments of failure. Spontaneity and persistence will give you the best possible results.

If You Do Want Them to Pose, Ask for Help

If a posed photoshoot is necessary, you’ll get the most successful results by asking for extra support. Without a helping hand, you’ll feel stressed, confused, and frustrated. That’s not the kind of environment you or your subjects deserve to be in.

Instead of stressing yourself out unnecessarily, you could ask the following people for help:

  • The child’s parents
  • A friend
  • A hired assistant
  • A second shooter

Someone could distract your subjects by talking to them or waving an object in the air. Someone else could take care of your equipment while you waited for the perfect moment. With this amount of support, you’d have enough space and time to take great photographs.

With the right amount of knowledge and help, your lively subjects will be a delight to photograph. To acquire that knowledge, all you have to do is research, practice, and learn from your mistakes.

Don’t forget to ask for support when you need it. Most importantly, enjoy documenting the unbreakable bond between children and their beloved pets. When you feel like giving up, think about this: your hard work is something that your clients will appreciate for years to come. The child you’re photographed will grow up and have a visual memory to cherish forever. *That* is worth fighting for.


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I'm an admirer of nature, a photographer, and a curious reader. Writing about photography and helping others improve is a growing passion of mine. My constant wish is to inspire others to be creatively fearless and endlessly curious. "Always dream bigger is my advice to you, because you can have whatever your heart desires" - Ashley Graham

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