How to Take the Perfect Picture of Your Pet

If you have pets, your camera is likely full of their photos. But thanks to animals’ unpredictable and energetic nature, many of those photos are probably not ones you’d frame. If you want to get that perfect shot, try these seven pet photography tips the pros swear by.

1. Consider your environment

If you’re preparing to have a real photo shoot with your pet — not just taking a picture of a cute moment on the fly — spruce up your environment before you start. Make sure the entire area is free from clutter and distractions, and add elements, such as holiday decor or your pet’s favorite toys, that you want in the shot. “If an element in your background doesn’t serve to enhance your images in some way, either remove it first or move to a different location,” photography blog Digital Photography School suggests.

Furthermore, choose your location based on lighting. “Bright yet diffused light is the easiest to create flattering pet portraits,” according to Digital Photography School. And beware your camera’s flash, which often causes that eerie glow of an animal’s eyes in a photo. “If you need to use a flash, opt for one that can be pointed up toward the ceiling rather than straight at your dog,” Vetstreet recommends.

2. Stay calm

dog and cat lying on the floor together

Even if you want to catch some action shots of your pet, it’s important for you to remain calm during the photo shoot. Avoid bombarding them with a constant stream of commands — “Sit! Stay! Look over here!” — as that will just end up stressing your pet.

Instead, Vetstreet recommends being less hands-on and allowing your pet to act naturally for the photos, as that “can become an opportunity to capture his unique personality, just like you would do with any other member of the family.” You can even use soft classical music or pheromone products to elevate the calm vibe.

3. Get on your pet’s level

You might have to do some stooping, bending and crawling for this, but it’ll be worth it. “To create the really engaging portraits the pros make, shoot down at their level,” according to Digital Photography School. That means if you have a short-legged Dachshund, be prepared to crouch down low to have the perfect angle on her face. And if your cat is striking an adorable pose up in a cat tree, you might want a step stool handy to fully photograph him in his element.

For those who aren’t so flexible, the photography blog recommends you practice “shooting from the hip.” In other words, hold the camera at different levels to take a photo without moving your entire body. Sometimes you have to strike some strange poses yourself to get the perfect shot of your pet, but it’s worth it to see the world through their eyes.

4. Focus on their eyes

cat lying upside-down in grass

Speaking of eyes, Digital Photography School recommends watching your pet’s eyes and facial expressions to capture engaging moments. This also gives you a target on which to focus your camera as your pet moves around the space.

Plus, try to capture your pet’s uniqueness, as well. “If your dog has special features, like a curly tail or long ears, play these up and make them a focus of the photo,” Vetstreet suggests.

5. Be ready to move — slowly

Professional photographers are always on the move. Even for subjects who aren’t as mobile as animals, photographers know it’s important to try different angles and stay light on their feet. So Digital Photography School encourages you to do some stretching before you begin your pet’s photo shoot. If your animal is posing adorably, you’ll want to be as nimble as possible to quickly capture the shot.

Along those lines, it’s vital to move slowly, so you don’t distract your pet. “This is especially important with cats, who are prone to either radically change the expression on their face (and ears) at your slight movements, or split the scene altogether,” Digital Photography School says. If you want photos with your pet focused on the camera, make subtle noises or gestures to get their attention without completely disrupting the scene.

6. Offer rewards

beagle smiling at a person holding a treat

Don’t make your model work for free. Have your pet’s favorite motivators — treats, toys, etc. — at your fingertips to reward them throughout the photo shoot. After they hold a pose, treat them right away, even if you didn’t get the shot you wanted. The photo shoot will only last for as long as they’re engaged and having fun, so it’s important to take breaks and reward them for their good behavior. The whole process might become a training session, playtime and photo shoot all in one — but it should simply be quality time with you in your pet’s eyes.

7. Don’t give up

Maybe your model is too hyper, hungry, distracted, tired, whatever for a photo shoot. That’s OK. The great thing about our pets is they tend to be adorable on a daily basis. So even if your photo shoot didn’t go so well, there’s always another time. Work on your camera skills, train your pet to hold poses and before you know it you’ll have that perfect picture framed on your wall.

54 comments

Anna R
Anna R2 months ago

Thanks for posting

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Richard B
Richard B2 months ago

thanks

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danii p
danii p2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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danii p
danii p2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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danii p
danii p2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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michela c
michela c2 months ago

Thanks

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Anna R
Anna R2 months ago

Good tips. Thanks.

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Olivia M
Olivia M2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Maria P
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank youi

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Alexandra Richards
Alexandra Richards2 months ago

Thank you.

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