Pet photography 101 - Why does my pet look so dark or like a silhouette?

Hi and welcome to our new series “Pet Photography 101”! This series is meant to provide you with simple tips and techniques to help you improve your every day pictures of your pet.

We won’t dig too deep, get too technical or be considering all possible scenarios, rather I as a professional photographer just want to share with you some very basic information that hopefully will make photographing more fun.

Have you ever photographed your pet towards a bright background like a window with daylight shining in? Unless you have some basic photography knowledge, I’m willing to bet your pet turned out dark or looked like a silhouette depending on how much light was shining in. Even though silhouettes can be absolutely stunning, there are times you probably would prefer to see the beautiful features of your pet.

So your pet is sitting by his or her favorite window in your home, looking out with that contemplative and cute look you like so much. You decide it’s time to preserve this sweet little habit and grab your camera or your cellphone to take a picture. To get the best results in this situation, try the following:

Instead of photographing straight into the window, change your position so you take the picture from the side.

You don’t want your camera to think “Oh my goodness this scenes is so bright, I better make sure to select my settings in a way that this picture is not going to be all blown out”. Well your camera is smart, but in this case there is another consideration; your pet. Even if your camera actually tries to base its settings on an average calculation, shooting straight into the light will cause problems. The result? Yes, you guessed it…your pet will look dark or like a silhouette. By changing your camera angle so the light is coming in from the side, you will give your camera a chance to more accurately calculate and select settings that makes for a better exposed picture i.e. your pet won’t be dark or look like a silhouette.

We could go deeper into this, talking about how the color of your pet and the background will change the camera’s calculation, how you could use exposure compensation, flash or a reflector, but for now let’s keep it super simple and just remember: don’t shoot straight into the light.

Happy photographing!



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