The following is a guest post by pet photographer Victoria Rak of Tuff Photo.

How often do you glance down at your pet and think I must capture this cuteness? You run and grab your camera with the highest of hopes only to be let down by mediocre results and the task was frustrating.  You’ve chased them, pleaded for concentration, blurred the photos and let’s not forget about you producing the glowing eyes effect. Does this sound familiar?

 Here are some quick steps to help you to take better photos of your pet.   

  1. Patience!   The first 10 minutes or so are always a little challenging.  Your pet has no idea what you’re doing.  Staying calm allows them to feel more comfortable.   After they are calm you will find it much easier to focus and your pet will find it much easier to embrace you and your camera. 
  2. Rewards!  Always have rewards with you.  A favorite toy or treat can make a big difference.   The toy I hold in my hand is a diamond in disguise.  A joyful cylinder that rolls when chased or squeaks when chewed is a dog’s best friend!  A feathery toy that moves along the floor just waiting to be pounced on. The bacon flavored treat that makes any dog drool and cats purr captures their undivided attention like nothing else! 
  3. Flash! Or should I say No Flash!  That’s right no flash allowed.  I can’t stress this enough.   Moving outdoors or into a well lit room will make the difference between a big blur or a sharp photo.    Eyes are the windows to the soul.  When you leave your flash off you can see the eyes are no longer hidden by bright glowing circles or haze.
  4. Sit!  Yes I meant you sit down.  Getting low is so important.  Not sure how low to get?  Not to worry.  Stay eye level.  Get face to face with your subject.  Sitting, Kneeling, or lying on the floor is a good start.  You might be surprised at what you see at their level!
  5. Fun!   Have fun with it.  Take your time and enjoy your pet.  I know they will enjoy you spending time with them.

About Victoria

I have been photographing pets professionally for years. So I’d like to think I have the hang of it by now!  If you ask any of my professional colleagues they will say photographing a pet can be quite the challenge even for them. However I am told I have the ability to break down the process for inspiring novice. I have picked up quite a few tricks along the way and I would be happy share more with you. So if you have questions, want to see my work, photo outtakes, tips and more please visit my Blog at www.tuffphoto.com and/or become a fan on Facebook!

Always remember the secret to good pet photography is to make sure . . . pst . . . personality shines through!

By Play Admin on Jan 19, 2013 at 12:00 am 0 Comments
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National Train Your Dog Month Training Tip #12: Better Safe than Sorry. As a pet owner it's extremely important to be prepared for any kind of situation; especially medical emergencies. Keep a first aid kit on hand at home and in your car (if you travel with your pet); the Humane Society has compiled  a great list of supplies to include in your kit. Visit your vet for annual check ups, and make sure to keep a list of their phone number as well as any 24 hour veterinary hospitals in your area.

Also, know what symptoms to look for. You know your pup best, so if he's acting strange keep an eye out for these symptoms:

  • Pale gums
  • Rapid breathing
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Change in body temperature
  • Difficulty standing
  • Apparent paralysis
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Excessive bleeding

Every dog owner should know how to perform CPR; as we said, better safe than sorry.

By Play Admin on Jan 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm 0 Comments
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At P.L.A.Y., we're all about positive reinforcement; we believe there is absolutely no need for negativity. Screaming and hitting (or any kind of physical abuse) are absolutely out of the question.

Some people actually believe that you need to scare a dog out of bad behaviors (ever heard of the "rub your dog's face in his waste if he has an accident in the house?"), but in reality, all that does is make your dog scared of you. If you don't catch your dog in the act, there's absolutely no point for punishment as an afterthought. Your dog will correlate the punishment to something he's doing at that time, instead of what you're actually upset about.

Now we're not saying you shouldn't correct your dog if he's behaving badly. Example: If you catch him using your carpet as a restroom, correct him with a firm "No,"  distract him (clapping, whistling, anything to get his attention), get him outside to finish his business, and then praise him. Voila! What could've been a horrible experience for both of you, ended positively. Now if you find a "present" from your pup on your carpet much after the fact - consider it an accident on both your parts and move on.

By Play Admin on Jan 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm 0 Comments
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