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Home > General > How to Photograph Pets: 11 Expert Tips

How to Photograph Pets: 11 Expert Tips

Side profile view of red fawn French Bulldog

When you have pets, there’s no shortage of photography subjects for your social media. Our pets can create some of the funniest or most beautiful photos possible, but they’re not always the best at striking a pose.

Find out how to photograph your pets and get great shots with these 9 tips.


The 11 Tips on How to Photograph Pets

1. Choose the Right Angle

Taking a photo of a dog or cat from way above them may lead to a “fishbowl” look that’s not attractive. It’s better to get down to your pet’s level by crouching or lying on the floor to get a straight-on perspective. This may take some practice because getting on the floor can signal your pet to play instead of sitting still.

Image Credit: Erik Jan Leusink, Unsplash

2. Use Natural Light

Natural light offers several advantages for photographing your pet. Some dogs and cats get skittish with a flash, and natural light generally produces better images. Try taking photos of your pets outside or in a room with a lot of windows on a sunny day.

If you have dark-colored animals, natural light also brings out the natural variations in their coat better than indoor or studio lighting. It’s a huge help for black animals, which are notoriously difficult to capture accurately.

3. Groom Your Pet

If you’re snapping fun photos, it doesn’t matter if your pet looks a little scruffy. But if you’re trying to get family photos or a good staged shot for a holiday card, you want your pet to look its best. Give your dog or cat a brushing, trim nails, and wipe away any dirt or eye goo before snapping your photos.

pomeranian dog being brushed by a woman
Image Credit: aonip, Shutterstock

4. Get Your Pet’s Attention

Pictures may be fun for us, but your dog or cat may not understand why you’re expecting it to sit still. Talking to your pet with a fun and friendly tone can help you hold its focus and make the experience fun for everyone.

5. Try Different Framing

Play around with the framing or angles of your photos to make them more interesting. Like humans, pets have a “good side” that you can capture by experimenting with distance shots, close-ups, and angled shots. They also make for more attractive photos.

close up image of cat's ears and eyes
Image Credit: effective stock photos, Shutterstock

6. Showcase Your Pet’s Personality

A good photograph should capture not only the beauty of your pet but its unique personality. If your pet is mellow, get a quiet shot of it relaxing on the couch or lying in the grass. Is your dog goofy? Aim for a shot of some silly antics.

7. Take Some Action Shots

Athletic dogs and cats make for some excellent photography subjects. It may take a little more skill, but taking an action shot of your dog running and jumping in your yard or your cat climbing its tower can be a beautiful photo.

Australian Shepherd puppy running
Image Credit: Chris Curtis, Shutterstock

8. Use a Fast Shutter Speed

If you’re trying to get an action shot, use a fast shutter speed. Often used to photograph athletes in motion, a fast shutter speed is good at capturing motion shots with clarity. Some cameras have an “action” or “sports” setting that will adjust the shutter speed for the circumstances.

9. Have Treats Ready

Treats go a long way toward holding your pet’s attention long enough for some photos. Keep treats in your pocket to reward your dog or cat for sitting still or to catch their attention for a good camera pose.

Dog chewing on bone treat
Image Credit: James Smith, Pixabay

10. Take Tons of Photos

As any photographer knows, getting a great shot is about volume. You may need to take a lot of photos to get that perfect one. If your camera has burst mode, try it to capture a range of poses and expressions—you’re bound to have a few gems among them.

11. Prepare for Photo Opportunities

Planning a photo is one thing, but our pets tend to do the most photo-worthy things when we’re not ready. Keep your camera or smartphone close when you’re around your pets since you never know when the next Kodak moment will happen.

cat looking upwards with festive background
Image By: TSViPhoto, Shutterstock


Pet Photo Editing

If you have a smartphone, it’s easy to polish your photos after your session. You can do a lot of editing with the basic edit features on your phone, but a high-quality photo editing app will give you more options. Experiment with cropping, color correction, contrast, and lighting for your photos until you get the image you want.


Final Thoughts

We all love photos of our pets , but it can take some work to get them perfect. Pets aren’t always the most cooperative, especially if you’re trying to get some goofy or action poses. Try these tips to see if you can get that perfect moment from your dog or cat.

Featured Image Credit: Firn, Shutterstock

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