Photography Cheat Sheet: Do You Know How to Expose for a Pet’s Fur?

Start shooting great shots of your furry friends and other animals with this extensive pet photography cheat sheet.

Photographing pets can be challenging at times, as all of us have likely experienced when attempting to capture the adorable moments of our fur babies. It can even be stressful for both the pets and the photographer. With some tips from today’s featured photography cheat sheet, all the chasing around and more will be well worth it!

In the cheat sheet below, by Expert Photography, we learn what we should have in our camera bag, the camera settings to use, and exposure tips for pet photography. It also gives us some tips on how to effectively compose and focus to get the best photos of our furry friends.

First, the guide provides a packing list that includes photography gear, treats, and toys to use either as part of the shot or to get the pet’s attention, as well as some essentials to use for cleaning up, holding items, and taking notes during the shoot. If you’re shooting outdoors, you’ll also need some ND filters and to pack your gear in a waterproof-casing. If you’re shooting in a studio or indoors, you may also need to set up your lighting equipment.

Next, we have some exposure tips based on the color of the fur or feathers — something many beginners most likely didn’t put much consideration into when taking pet photos. For light-colored fur, underexpose by one to two stops. For dark-colored fur, overexpose by one or two stops instead. For animals with dark and light colors, you can either over or underexpose based on the dominant color.

As for composition, there are different techniques based on the situation. For example, consider using negative space when the pet is moving or looking forward. If you have multiple pets in the frame, keep them on the same level for better focusing. Always shoot at the eye-level of your animal subjects: viewers tend to be more emphatic with photos taken this way.

Lastly, there are additional tips for best results, like shooting with single shot focusing, making sure the leash doesn’t cross any paw, joints, or complicated details so they are easy to clone out in post, and getting the eyes sharply focused for powerful shots.

Need more photography tips and tricks like this? Don’t forget to check out our photography cheat sheet collection to find more that will come in handy for your next shoot and projects!