Unlike humans, pets are not going to follow instructions when you're trying to take photos of them. For that matter, some humans can make pretty lousy subjects as well. So what do you do in order to get the most out of your pet pictures? The following tips are not some miracle solution, but they will help make the job of photographing your Fluffy or Fido a little easier.
The first thing you have to understand when photographing your pet is it's not going to do what you want it to do. So getting a "staged" or "posed" photo is not going to be possible unless you have a trained animal and good luck in finding one of those. The best thing you can hope for when photographing your pet is the best possible situation that is going to come about on its own. Having said that, there are things you can do to help the situation along.
For starters, you're going to have to get down to your pet's level in order to photograph it properly. That does not mean you become a blithering idiot and start drinking out of the toilet. We're referring to the angle of the shot. If you're photographing a small cat, for example, you're going to want to bend down to the floor in order to shoot the animal, unless of course it happens to be sitting on your favorite sofa taking a nap. In either case you want the camera to be at eye level with the pet. If it's possible to get even lower than the subject, then by all means give it a shot. This will make for an even more interesting photo.
The next thing you want to make sure you DO NOT do is startle the animal. No sudden movements or noises. These things are most likely going to end up chasing your subject out of the room in a hurry. You want to be quiet and sneak up on the subject slowly. This gives you the best chance of actually having a subject to shoot.
Action photos are great, but very unpredictable when it comes to pets. If you are lucky enough to catch your cat or dog in the act of playing with some object then do not wait for him to look at you. Fire away. These make for some very interesting photos.
One way to get your pet to perform for you is to get a family member involved, especially if you have a child or somebody in the family who the pet is very attached to. Many cats and dogs will actually perform tricks for certain family members they are comfortable with. If you can orchestrate the situation then by all means do it. These will become some of the more interesting and entertaining photos you are bound to take.
When photographing pets, you're going to probably have more "throw away" photos than good ones because of the nature of the subject. So make sure you have plenty of extra film. The last thing you want is for your cat to finally do that trick you were waiting six hours for and you've run out of film.
These tips are by no means exhaustive, but they will get you a good jump on getting the jump on your subject, before your subject jumps out of the picture.