Tips on photographing multiple pets and people together?


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Dec 18, 2009
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Rochester, IN
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I've been asked to take a few portraits of a middle aged couple with their 3 cats and dog. 3 of the animals are all or nearly all black. They would like for these to be done either in their house on on the porch because they suspect this is where the animals will most cooperate.

Does anyone have tips on composing and lighting as well as how to get all 6 subjects' attention?
Wow... tough one! Depending on the time of day and weather/lighting, you will likely need a good bit of extra light. I would look to at least two diffuse strobes, slightly above and off to the sides. This will definitely be an incidnent-metering situation!

As far as attention-getters, I use a bird. Literally. I have a brightly coloured, small plush bird (about 1/2 the size of a real robin) on a three-foot long piece of green-painted bamboo. It works well with humans, who almost always smile when they're told to 'Watch the birdy' and there is a real birdy to watch; I suspect that it might work with animals, especially dogs and cats, but I would talk to the people and compose the shot in whatever order they feel the animals are mostly likely to cooperate (in other words if Rover and Mittens don't get along, separate them as much as possible), and have LOTS of treats handy.

Good luck!

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