Photographing children and pets – Tips for animal family photos

In many families, children with a pet have a loyal friend at their side. Natural family photos can create valuable memories of this animal friendship. However, photographing children and pets at the same time often presents parents with a double challenge. Many rules of photography can be applied to both children and animals. Together with professional family photographers and mothers who are enthusiastic about photography, we have compiled a few tips for you.

Photographing with composure

(Photo: Sevi Koch Photography)

Tip from Sevi Koch: “As with all shootings, but especially with shootings with small children and animals, it is important to see with your heart and wait. Patience has the highest priority here. There is a very special bond between children and animals, and if you wait patiently and don’t try to put up situations, they come all by themselves. And then you only have to be ready for the moment, to press the trigger exactly then.”

Patience often pays off twice over. Because after the raving children and animals are often played knocked out. Don’t put the camera down early now, but wait a little longer. Both are resting and perhaps someone is even taking a nap? The ideal time for detailed and especially harmonious photos with your child and his pet. With particularly active dogs you could also let them run wild before a shooting, so that they are exhausted with the photos and somewhat calmer.

(Photo: Karolina Krausser)

Karolina Krausser’s tip: “The more relaxed the animals act in front of the camera, the more beautiful the shots will be. That’s why my most important tip for family photos with pets: Patience and speed. Actually there are two tips, but they belong together in my eyes, especially for cats that are known to be loners. Actually I intended to photograph only the mum with the baby, but I saw from the point of view that the cat placed itself comfortably and elegantly in front of the actual motive. Now it had to go fast. I changed my position, focused on the cat because I wanted it in the foreground, and pulled the trigger.”

Sharp photos with the right camera settings

(Photo: Svenja Johansson)

Doesn’t your pet just want to cuddle with the child for the photo and look into the camera? No problem. Let the two romp around and play – and you’ll get some lively action photos.

Family photographer Svenja Johansson advises you: “Patience is the magic word, because you need it for photos with children and animals. I personally observe closely and try to catch the perfect moment.”

One of the biggest challenges is surely the strong urge to move of child and animal. Taking sharp pictures despite fast movements is not so easy. We strongly recommend that you choose a dynamic focus method and shoot in series (continuous shooting function). Better take one more photo and sort it later on the computer. So you increase the chance of taking THE snapshot. And of course you should keep the shutter speed low. If you’re not so sure about the manual mode of your camera, set your camera to sports mode.

Go to eye level

Anna Zeiter works with the following tips: “In order to get expressive and impressive pictures, I go directly to the eye level of the child or animal. This way I gain the trust of the children as well as the animals. I also like to show the children 1-2 pictures in between, depending on how old they are. And of course don’t forget the treats!

(Photo: Anna Zeiter)

Capturing the character of pets artistically

Try to capture the character of the pet with the camera. Is it a gentle, quiet and cuddly cat? Or a curious and playful puppy that is bursting with energy?

Photographing without Flash

A tip from Triplemama @RosalieNobody: “A bright flash can be a distraction and a mood killer for both small children and animals. In small and dark rooms, flash light is also very hard. If it’s too gloomy, you shouldn’t be afraid to increase the ISO value. Harmonious images are best obtained with natural light sources. So you’d better go to the window or even better outdoors into nature.”

Focus on the eyes

Just like when photographing children, you should also focus on the eyes of pets. This way you can make the personality visible through the eyes. If animals and children are in the picture at the same time, you focus on the motif that is closer.

(Photo: Claudia @life flush)

Claudi @life-flurker: “The picture of Vincent and my daughter came into being when he was supposed to stay on the chair because we unpacked the suitcases and I didn’t want him to spread everything out in the room, after all he’s 16 weeks old and a little wild. She went to him and stroked him. Sometimes she leaves again, this time she stayed. I carefully took my camera and waited. I asked, “You really love Vincent, what” and then she took him in her arms. There are other pictures where her face is to be seen, with a hearty laugh – so honest, but actually I like this one very much because it somehow captured a moment so full of love and affection, even without a sweet child’s face. It doesn’t take more than that for a good picture.”

Summary by Claudi @Lifestyle

“So my tip for all those who like to take pictures: be patient. don’t just look through the viewfinder of your camera, but experience the moment. Steer it a little, if you have to, but don’t make it unnatural by giving instructions and tearing children out of the intuitive situation.”

Taking beautiful family photos with pets may not always be easy. But with the right camera attitude and a lot of patience you will succeed. Photographing should be fun for the children and the animals at all times. Small tricks and treats are of course allowed.

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Christina Cherry
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