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Comfort for Critters

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Photographing Black Pets in their Best Light!

September 6, 2016

One important way to combat “Black Pet Syndrome”* is to be loud and proud about the black cats and dogs which share our home. Posting pictures of your beautiful black kitty on Facebook, or Tweeting out shots of your black Lab are great ideas, with one problem - black pets are some of the most difficult to photograph!

There are a few easy “tricks” that will help you show off your black pet in the best light possible.

#1 Find the focal point -

The focal point of the photograph should be the most striking aspect of the pet. With a black pet, this is often the eyes, since sometimes they are the only color to be seen. Try to catch the expression in their eyes! As an alternative, use the texture of the coat as the focal point. To do this, lighting is especially important (read on!).

#2 Get the light, right -

First of all, turn off the “auto” feature on your camera, as it will almost always underexpose a black pet, resulting in a dark photograph. Try a photograph with, and then without, a flash. The flash will greatly change the texture of the pet’s coat. You may, or may not, like the result!

A great place to photograph your black pet is in a shady spot, somewhere away from direct light. Choose a room that has lots of light, but not directly shining on the subject. A large window, with light pouring in, just behind you (the photographer) is just perfect.

#3 Consider the background -

It’s always best to place your black pet on a background that is uncluttered. Since a photograph of a solid black pet can easily lose its detail, you need to make sure that the background does distract any further. A background light in color is also a good idea. Place your pet well in advance of the background, rather than right in front of a wall or sofa for instance. This helps the background blur a bit and your pet really stand out!

#4 Add a pop of color -

The beauty of a black coat is often shown off by a contrasting pop of color. Put a bright red bandana on your dog or a yellow catnip mouse at your kitty’s feet. Maybe even a brand new, colorful collar is in order! This splash of color will make the richness of their black coat look even better.

Even though it can be a bit of a challenge, the resulting photograph can be a real work of art and well worth the trouble. Try out a few of these ideas as you highlight your little companion. Let’s fight BPS together!

* Statistics show that black cats and dogs are often passed over and sometimes remain in the shelter for twice as long as their non-black companions. Even online services, which match pets to people, indicate that black pets remain on their “available” list four times as long as pets of other colors. All this data unfortunately means that the black dogs and cats are also the first to be euthanized in shelters without a “no-kill” policy.

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