Number One Tip for Successful Pet Photography
Shooting Pets (with a camera)
Combining Photos on Cards
Number One Tip for Successful Pet Photography
Use a camera. Do not use your phone. Yes, we know you can take a photo with your phone and sometimes they even look pretty good. On your phone. They rarely look very good in print. Phone cameras do not have the shutter speed, focusing capabilities or lighting options of even the most basic digital camera. Quick moving pets can be challenging subjects to photograph - make it easy on yourself (and us) and start with the right equipment. Even if you don't own a camera, you probably know someone who does.
Point of View: The most useful point of veiw for most of our cards is directly in front of and at the eye level of the subject.
Flash: Flash photos work well for our cards. However, be sure to turn off the red-eye flash adjustment for your camera. The red-eye reduction feature of a camera sets off a series of small, quick flashes before taking the actual photo and often times will make your pet turn away from the camera before you can take your shot. It is very easy for us to correct the red or green eye problem in a photo and we always correct this (free of charge) in retouching your photo. Also, avoid standing very close to your pets, as the flash could hurt their eyes and cause white out on the fur of light colored pets.
Have a helper: Pets can be notoriously uncooperative when being photographed. It is often useful to call in a helper to position your dog or cat. If your helper is not one of your household, you may need to allow time for pets to calm down after the arrival of your helper. Feel free to use a leash to control dog's movement - we can retouch it out.
Squeaky toy: Having a small squeaky toy hidden away in your hand (or a person standing in back of you with one) can be useful to get your pet's attention. Avoid over use or you may be tackled by your animal.
Zoom lens: If your camera has a zoom lens, it is easier to photograph your animal without him or her being aware of you.
Timing: We've found the best time for photographing dogs is several hours after dinner, when they have settled down for the night. For cats, first thing in the morning usually works well.
Patience, Patience, Patience: Work in short sessions over a period of days to obtain the best results. If all else fails, several of our cards work well with sleeping pets.
Digital photos (3 megapixel or larger) work great with all Card Bard cards. Here are some guidelines to achieve the best results from your digital camera for print photos.
Quality Setting: Set your camera to the highest quality setting allowed (Shq, hq or tiff).
ISO Setting: If your camera allows you to set the ISO, choose 100 or 200 setting. This will give you a clear, sharp picture with less digital noise (a grainy look).
Image Size: Choose the largest image size your camera can record.
Saving the File: Save your images in .jpg form. If you are asked to choose image options for .jpg saving, choose maximum quality or the largest file size.
Say you have an assortment of photos and you are trying to choose which ones to use for your photo card. Needless to say, the best quality photos will result in high quality cards. Keep these things in mind:
Focus: Focus, focus, focus. We can deal with many photo issues but out of focus photos are something we can't correct. Again, focus tends to be better in photos taken with flash.
Size of subject: Look for photos where your subject is short distance from the camera and fills the picture (without cutting off any vital parts!). If your card features just a head shot, have your photos also taken from the shoulders up.
Send more than one: If you are not sure which photos will work the best, send more than one. We are more than happy to choose the ones that will work the best for your card. Sometimes we even combine photos, say a body from one photo and a head from another, to come up with the perfect pose for a card
Uncertain about quality? If you really love a certain photo but are concerned that the quality is not good enough, e-mail us a copy. We'll tell you.
Combining photos on cards
One of the best things about Card Bard cards is that everyone does not need to be in the same photo. However, there are some guidelines to follow when combining different photos on the same card.
Point of View: Point of View: On most of our cards, it is necessary for the subjects to be photographed from the similar point of view (Exceptions: the Snowflake, and Christmas balls cards can have photos from any point of view). Often the best photo is one taken from directly in front and at the subject's eye level.
Lighting: Surprisingly, the photos that work the best for us are ones taken with flash. The lighting tends to be more even and the faster shutter speed usually results in a sharper photo (out of focus photos are a problem, especially with pets). Since we remove any eye reflections caused by the flash there is no need to worry about that. Avoid photos taken outside in bright sunlight as detail is often lost in both the light and dark areas. Outside photos shot in open shade or high outcast situations are usually the best. If your camera allows you to do so, use flash fill outside, especially with dark colored animals.