There's a Facebook page called Important Animal Images and it's glorious. As the name suggests, it's all about pictures every animal lover just has to see. Like a dog coming out of a mud puddle looking like a hippo. Or a frog peeking out from inside a sink. You know, the essentials.
So far, the page has over 822,000 followers but since it keeps regularly posting new pictures, I think it's only a matter of time before it hits 1 million. Continue scrolling and check out some of the funniest images the wholesome project has to offer.
A portion of these pictures came out the way they did because a person was at the right place at the right time. But there are things you can do to take better photos of your pets. As tricky as it can be, your furry family members can make decent models.
Professional photographer Mary McGurn of McGurn Media, who also volunteers as a photographer and videographer for the Berkshire Humane Society, a no-kill shelter in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, said the first thing you must consider is... you! "Don't move too much or make too much noise," McGurn told Animoto.
"Unless you want your pet to look up or in a specific direction, it’s best to minimize distractions — which means keeping movements slow and not making too much noise. Dogs may charge the camera, and cats might run away."
Next, keep in mind the story you want to tell. Even though she doesn't know all the shelter animals, Mary said, "When I photograph and film, I have an outline of a story in mind." You can change the story if you want but it's helpful to have your setting and props planned out in advance.
If possible, work with a partner. "Since I photograph shelter dogs, I'm faced with no owner control or fully known animal behaviors," McGurn highlighted. "To help me, I always photograph with one of the shelter staff armed with treats." Even if the animals are really friendly, it can be helpful to have a second pair of hands.
Also, focus on your pet's personality. When Mary photographs shelter dogs, for example, she takes time to get to know them, observe their behaviors.
"The dog’s response to any commands, its walk, its stance, its play behavior, its interaction (snuggling, kissing, response to touch in general) with a human and its ability to be quietly at rest."
The good thing is that pet owners have it a little easier. Since you already know your pet’s personality, think about what they love — whether that’s sleeping, eating, or playing, or focus on a quirk or characteristic that makes them special. That way you’ll capture a moment that represents what your pet is really like.
Don't be afraid to get down to your pet's level. Mary advised it's always a good idea to shoot at eye level. It gives photos the feeling of a portrait rather than a simple snapshot and helps better capture the personality and expression of the animal.
This brings us to shooting for the eyes. While you’re down at their level, Mary also suggests getting snaps where your pet's eyes are on the camera. Even when she's done photographing shelter animals, Mary edits her photos with eyes in mind.
"I mostly crop tight on the face, subtly enhance the eyes, and use a hint of a vignette to keep the focus where I want it most — on the eyes.” This simply creates a connection that makes for a better portrait.
Take lots of photos. Part of getting a successful pet portrait is persistence. "I take at least 200 photos of my subject (and film countless short 10- to 30-second videos) so I can find the expressions or actions that will tease the viewer’s heart; that will possibly open the door to the animal’s adoption," Mary explained.
It also helps to get creative. Move around your pet to find interesting angles.
Have treats ready for dogs. To keep your pooch focused, have a handful of snacks ready to reward it for staying in front of the lens. Just make sure to be ready if your pup gets too excited and charges the camera!
Mary said she does coax cats to play with toys. That strategy works best with kittens. "With a cat as a subject, I tend to sit, wait and follow their lead."
Now, if you get a really nice and/or funny shot, you know where to submit it as well!