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While an interesting perspective creates interest and grabs initial attention it's the eyes that make a pet portrait memorable. The feeling of a picture changes dramatically if the subject is engaged with the camera or focused on something off-camera. Looking at the camera the subject engages us directly but, if they are looking away, they create interest by making us guess at what is just off-camera that is engaging them.
Backlight is created by taking pictures of your pet with the strongest light behind them. It is a powerful way to frame and highlight your pet but can easily go wrong. It is important to expose for the face at the risk of causing the backlighted areas to blow out. You can prevent the picture from becoming heavily overexposed by placing your subject against a dark background. This makes exposure easier and will add prominence to the highlighted halo of fur around your pets face and body.
A compelling photograph keeps your attention by making you ask questions. Sometimes, as in the above picture, it is about the subject but it can also be about the surroundings. What is the headlight part of and why is it in the middle of the forest?
A pet is part of the family and their story is not complete without capturing them in the family setting. This might be posed pictures where they are included in a family portrait or it might be active shots where they are interacting with other family members.
Snapshots capture a moment in time. Quality is less important as the value is in the memories. The moments are transient and must be captured when they happen. Art photography, on the other hand, attempts to capture the spirit of the subject in a controlled fashion. The situation, lighting, and surroundings are carefully managed to tell a story that captures the spirit of the subject matter. Both snapshots and art shots are critical. Art photographs can be printed in large sizes on quality media to hang on your wall as a piece of art. Anyone, even people that don't know...