You know it when you see it — the golden hour. It’s that hour just after the sun rises (and just before it sets again) when the light is soft and thought by many photographers to be perfect for portrait photography. This light is ideal for photographing people — fewer shadows, no harsh light, a warm glow — and it’s also very flattering to pets, too. If you want to make the best of this natural light to photograph your four-legged friends, here are four things to keep in mind:
- Watch for shadows. Since the light is softer during the golden hour and not as harsh as it will be at high noon, the shadows will be softer, too. Pay attention to any shadows that are falling across Fido’s face in an unflattering way. Moving him just a little should help correct the problem.
- Put yourself between the sun and your pet. Not only will having the sun on your back feel good on a beautiful autumn evening, it will also be at the best location for lighting your pet’s face. Just be sure to watch that your own shadow isn’t in the way.
- Get down on your pet’s level. Shooting down on your pet isn’t the best angle (unless he happens to be looking up at you with those hard-to-resist puppy-dog eyes), so get down on his level, nose to nose. This angle will help you capture all the cute details straight on, from his wet nose to his floppy ears.
- Keep the best, delete the rest. Your furry friend may not be willing to sit still for very long, so be sure that you take several pictures before giving up. You may get lucky and snap the perfect picture on your first try, but the more pictures you take, the more likely you are to get “the one” you’re after.
By Summer Huggins, Austin Pets Alive! volunteer