Shooting tips > Capture the Cute Expressions of Pets

LESSON 5Capture the Cute Expressions of Pets

Focal length: 144 mm / F-number: 5.6 / Shutter speed: 1/13 sec

When you photograph your pets, the real key is a trusting relationship with them. Just pointing the camera at your pets may make them too cautious. So, first let your pets get used to the camera little by little in a relaxed environment, such as your home.
Let's start by using the P-mode to shoot with the settings automatically selected by the camera.

Focal length: 120 mm / F-number: 4.0 / Shutter speed: 1/100 sec

Capture a relaxed image of your pets at home, the way that only you see them. In addition to taking lively shots of your pets, try to get as many shots as possible and capture various expressions.

Shooting from pets' eye level

First, get down and shoot from pets' eye level. When we shoot from the human eye level (as we often do), the camera is pointed downward. As a result, the background includes only the ground or floor, and getting the defocus effect is difficult. By shooting from your pets' level, you can capture the world as seen from your pets' eyes, and record your favorite cute expressions from various directions and angles.
To shoot from your pets' level, use the tilt function of the monitor at the back of the camera. (*)

You can easily see the scene from your pets' eye level just by looking down at the monitor from above.
(*) The available tilt angles and shape of the monitor vary by camera model. Refer to the Instruction Manual or Handbook for your camera for details.

Focal length: 24 mm / F-number: 2.0 / Shutter speed: 1/40 sec

The best photo opportunities are not just when your pet is looking at the camera, but also when your pet is excited about food or toys. This lets you capture the interesting scenes that are different from usual. Try shooting your family or friends playing with your pets.

Focal length: 120 mm / F-number: 4.0 / Shutter speed: 1/160 sec

This shot captured the expression of a cat staring at the food above. Shooting from a low level, almost touching the floor, created a different look from the ordinary shot from the front. Also, by moving a little away from the subject and shooting on the telephoto side (with longer focal lengths) of the zoom lens, the background was defocused more, enhancing the cat's expression. Conversely, if you get close and shoot on the wide-angle side (with shorter focal lengths), your pet's entire body will fill the frame, and the photograph will look more dynamic and powerful.

Taking care to reduce subject blur

When pets are moving around, blur may result from the movement of the subject (subject blur). Use the S-mode if this happens.
By selecting faster shutter speeds in the S-mode, you can reduce subject blur. Although recommended shutter speeds vary depending on the environment and your pet's movement, you will generally want to shoot at 1/250 sec or faster.

Because the shutter speed was slow, the image was blurred and unclear.
The amount of light entering the camera is small in dim indoor situations. As a result, if you increase the shutter speed too much, the image may get dark. If this happens, the best solution is to brighten the room. If you cannot adjust the brightness of the room, or you want to shoot in dim light, try shooting repeatedly while decreasing the shutter speed little by little until the image appears bright enough.
Also, having a fast fixed focal length lens is very useful for scenes like these.

Shutter speed: 1/13 sec

Trying fixed focal length lenses

With small F-numbers (fast maximum apertures), fixed focal length lenses can create great background defocus. Also, because they allow a large amount of light to enter the camera, you can enjoy shooting with less chance of blurring even indoors in dim light.

Focal length: 50 mm / F-number: 2.0 / Shutter speed: 1/80 sec

SAL50F14

This quintessential fast "normal" lens offers outstanding corner-to-corner resolution, while the combination of F1.4 maximum aperture and circular aperture design makes it possible to elicit silky-smooth defocusing effects to enhance image depth and isolate important visual elements. Because of the large aperture, more light is allowed, facilitating easier hand-held shooting, even in low light situations.

Focal length: 50 mm / F-number: 4.0 / Shutter speed: 1/80 sec

SEL50F18

This is a mid-range telephoto lens with the 50 mm focal length that is perfect for portraiture. The large aperture and circular aperture design can produce beautifully defocused backgrounds. Moreover, by working together with the built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system, it can shoot crisp and clear images under low-light conditions.