by Lexi Kerzman | Photos: Photography by Kayla K.
Pet owners in many senses are like parents. They love their pet more than anything and treat them as if they are their children. Parents take pictures of their children, and pet owners try to take pictures of theirs.
Any pet owner knows the struggle it can be to take a decent photo of a hyper puppy or sly cat. Pet photographer Kayla Schmidt shares her top eight secrets to achieve a stunning photo of your darling pets.
- Take the pictures in an area where your pet is comfortable. Try taking photos in your house or backyard; your dog will be comfortable with the area and will not get distracted by new smells during the photoshoot. If you want a professional picture in a studio like Kayla’s, give your pet the opportunity to explore before the pictures. Pets need to be aware of their surroundings and the smells going on, so give them time to get comfortable. Do not rush the process; Kayla says the best pictures will happen once your pet is comfortable.
- One of the most important things to remember while taking pet pictures is to have patience. Pets are like toddlers, constantly moving and cannot stay focused. Kayla says the best pictures are not going to happen right away; keep working at it, they will come. Fido will get tired of playing games and give in. When your pet moves from the spot, move him back, it will not stop right away, but eventually your pet will give in and sit still.
- Talk to your pets. Use commands they already know. Tell them to sit, sometimes simple is best. Talk to them how you normally talk at home. Try to make the experience as comfortable as you can.
- Praise them. Pets respond best with positive praise. Tell your dog he is a good boy and he will respond by being a good boy.
- If praise doesn’t work, try treats. If you are having trouble getting them to look at the lens, try holding a treat near the lens; they won’t be able to take their eyes off of it. After you successfully snap the pictures, reward them. Don’t tease them with the treats, otherwise they will no longer be effective. Kayla says when using treats, be cautious of the types of treats you are giving. Avoid hard treats that take a long time to eat. Try little treats that can be eaten fast to keep the picture process moving.
- Decide what kind of photos you want. If you want action shots, perform the activity. If you want a picture of your dog playing fetch, play fetch and snap pictures before you throw the ball.
- Know your angle. Kayla suggests not hovering above your pet. The best pictures are at eye level, so try laying on your stomach or sitting down. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
- Finally, stay patient.The first time you take pictures, might not turn out, so keep working with them. Try a different day or different time. The more they are exposed to taking pictures, the better they will become. Kayla stresses not to be afraid to try again.
To see Kayla’s work, visit her Facebook page, Photography by Kayla K.
Lexi Kerzman is a senior at Bismarck High School. She got her first dog at age two and named him “Bob.” Many of her childhood memories focus around the giant black Labrador, pictured here with Lexi in 2001. Bob passed away in 2013.