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We love our pets. Many of us love to take photographs of our pets and share them on social media. We want others to admire our beloved furry family member. We can have them admire our pets more if we capture the best pictures of them.

Whether using a DSL camera, a point-and-shoot or a cellphone to photograph our adorable pets, there are certain settings to keep in mind. Here are five tips to help get the best shot.

Avoid flash

Using a camera’s direct flash at an animal is never good especially if our pet is looking directly at the camera. The result is glowing eyes making the pet look more evil than cute. Use natural light by taking photographs during the day. Take the photographs with our back to a window and with the pet facing the window. If outdoors, photograph the pet in the shade or on a cloudy day. Direct sunlight is too harsh, but the indirect light from a window or in the shade on a sunny day helps to capture the true color and beauty of our pets.

Get down to their level

It is important to get eye level with the pet being photographed. This may require lying on our stomach or sitting in front of them. This gives a more up-close and personal view.

Focus on the eyes

The eyes not only have expression but interesting color and depth. Point the camera at the eye of the pet being photographed. When using a DSL camera, press the shutter button half way and make sure the red focus light is on the eye of the pet. If using a cellphone, tap on the face or eye of the pet on the screen of the phone. A pet facing a window will also help to capture the catch light in the eyes. This brings more life to a portrait.

Avoid clutter

Nothing is more distracting than seeing irrelevant objects surrounding the pet in the picture. To have the focus be on the pet, focus only on the pet. Take a photograph of your pet on an uncluttered floor. Move in close, so that the pet is the only thing that can be seen in the picture.

Have a toy that makes noise

When the pet is in the right position and setting, it helps to get the pet’s full attention. A squeaky toy and an assistant may be a necessity at this point. When about to shoot, tell an assistant to squeak the toy just above our own head. The pet will likely look up with wide eyes right towards the camera. A dog may just cock even his or her head to the side while gazing at the camera for a perfect portrait.

It may take patience and numerous attempts. Forcing a pet to pose may result in a picture of an angry animal. Have the camera ready. Our pets may just be in the perfect spot naturally relaxing or playing providing us with the opportunity to capture the moment on camera. Have fun photographing and sharing our furry four-legged family members!