Shooting Challenge: A Better Pet Photo

Most of us take too many pictures of our pets. They're adorable, but how many are truly great photos worthy of hanging on the wall? For this week's Shooting Challenge, try to take a more amazing pet photo.

The Challenge

Take a photo of any non-human animal under your or a friend's care.

The Technique

Technique is everything in pet portraiture. Really! Pet portraiture is hard.

To learn how, I'd recommend this wonderful interview with professional pet photographer Josh Norem. A few tips you'll glean from the article:

1. Pets move. So use a fast shutter speed.

2. Indoors, you probably need a flash for great shots (because of that movement/shutter speed problem). If you don't have a flash—and this goes to phone photographers especially—open those blinds wide. Use as much natural light as possible.

3. Animals are finicky. Don't try to stage them. Go to them.

4. Try squeaky toy apps to get dogs excited. They really work, apparently.

For a more technical set of suggestions, this piece is fantastic, too.

The Example

Our lead image is by flickr's Entrepreneurial Dreams. It's a (pet) baby cobra photographed in what looks like HDR.

The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to contests@gizmodo.com, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a natively sized image in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

Send your best photo by Monday, April 14th at 9AM Eastern to contests@gizmodo.com with "Pet" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnamePet.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnamePetWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions.