Photographing Pets – Willing, Interesting, and Uncooperative Subjects

Those that have owned pets their entire lives understand the joy and happiness they bring to everyday life. Who wouldn’t want a picture of their favourite pet? They are like children, except you don’t have to listen to their crappy music…or lend them your car…or threaten their touchy boyfriend with physical violence. No, you get all the good stuff and none of the overly bad. Through all the ups and downs they are right there, purring, clawing, chewing, shedding and crapping everywhere. I wouldn’t give any of my pets away, now one of my kids….I’m open for discussion. Kidding kids. Well only if your reading this.
Bentley, our bengal, as a kitten

So when pet lovers wade into the waters of photography, it’s no big leap to think of their ‘special’ pet as an excellent subject of their new obsession. It doesn’t matter if your pet is “Cujo”, complete with rabies, and has mauled several neighbourhood children…it still appears to be photographic gold. The challenge is to capture the character and personality of your special pet. Something that shouldn’t be that difficult right?

Still eating slurpees Photobucket

Well, I have learned that our pets are never really that interested in doing what you want to do. Most of us know that by now. Instead you have to either be patient, lucky, or both. Those really really good shots don’t come easy to the new photographer. Employing the ‘spray and pray’ method may increase your chances but still doesn’t guarantee anything. The pictures posted here have been taken over the course of a year and are the result of hundreds if not thousands of pictures of my furry family members. Even then the ‘oh my god that’s the best pet photo ever!’ shot has evaded me. What I have managed to capture is just the basic, ‘this is my pet’, type of photo’s. A few shades better than grandma with her coke-bottle glasses and Polaroid camera.

Bentley scouting from his eagle nest Bentley scoping out the place Benley, now comfortable and a bit older, keeps watch over his territoryPhotobucket

Our furry family has grown over the last few years. At first it was just leo, our orange tabby, named after the lion because of his huge mane. Then we added a pair of bengals, Bentley and Lexus, named after expensive cars due to the price we paid for the special breed. Then finally, in the past few weeks, we have added a rottweiler puppy we call Thor. It’s a full house. Full of paws, claws, hair, meows, growls, and endless photographic opportunities. They are always there, mostly willing, usually interesting, and exclusively uncooperative. I have a thousand blurry and out of focus shots for every shot posted here.

It was a lot harder than I thought it would be to capture a decent image of a cat or dog. ‘How hard could it be’ I thought. Come to think of it, having a pet is one of the best ways to learn the harsh realities of photography. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Nothing easy is worth doing. I am still seeking that ‘wow’ photograph. Probably always will be. Just like every other genre and style of photography. Always be learning and pushing your personal boundaries.

Thor Bentley Thor on the move

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One thought on “Photographing Pets – Willing, Interesting, and Uncooperative Subjects

  1. Pingback: Finding Subjects and Pushing Boundaries « I Can Haz Camera?

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