10 Tips For Better Pet Photography

Professional pet photographers make it look so easy! Anyone who has tried to photograph their own pet knows how challenging this can be! Here are some pet photography tips that you can use to help you get the perfect shot

If you’re relaxed so will your pet!
  1. Relax. Your pet can sense if you’re nervous or uptight. A stressed animal will give you ‘ears flattened’, ‘concerned eyes’ look, which doesn’t look good. Take a deep breath and remember to have fun with it!
Focus on the eyes

2. Focus n the eyes and expressions. Just like in photos of humans, we always look at the eyes first. The eyes are the most expressive part of an animal’s face. So if you want to create really engaging portraits, focus on their eyes.

Clean up the area

3. Clean up the area. Plan where you want to photograph your pet and make sure it has plenty of light (natural works best – near a window) and tidy it up. Try to avoid distracting and vivid colored objects unless it’s your pet’s favorite.

Get down to their level

4. Photograph at their level. Get down to their level and try some portraits at their eye level. Yes, that might mean getting down and dirty! Or in this case, licked to death!

Photographing your pet near a window makes for great light

5. Go to the light. Light is always important along with great expressions.  You want to be able to see the catchlight’s in the pet’s eyes (the white reflective parts). Avoid photographing in dark rooms. Outside is best but avoid bright sunlight as it tends to flatten the image. Shady spots or anyplace where the light is diffused are ideal

Have treats handy

6. Keep treats handy. Every model wants and needs some motivation to pay attention to you during the photoshoot. Otherwise, they will wander off and become distracted.

Plan ahead

7. Plan ahead. Create a concept and a shot list ahead of time. Sure you’re probably not going to get every photograph you plan on but you’ll be ahead of the game. Go to Pinterest or any image gallery and search on “dog/cat/your pet portraits/photographs and see what others have done that you love. There are some great options with holiday themes!

Quiet and calm

8. Quiet and Calm. This goes along with the Relax tip. Avoid giving multiple commands at them repeatedly. This tends to confuse some pets. Try communicating with your pet the way they do to each other – non verbally. Use hand signals or point to invite them ‘over here’.

Move slowly

9. Move slowly. This goes along with the Relax and Quiet and Calm tips. Unless you want action photos of your pet, move in a slow manner to avoid getting your pet all stirred up. If your goal is to get some natural photos of them doing their own thing, this is important as you don’t want to disturb them


10. Patience. Applies to life in general but like anything else is a virtue. If you are patient enough, your pet will end up being relaxed and you will have more opportunities to get a nice photograph.

What tips do you have? Leave a comment below to share with others!