Pet Photography: Tips for taking the perfect photo

Capturing the perfect photo of your dog

Pets are a big part of our family so it is no wonder that we want beautiful photos of them to show online, print and share with everyone. However, they can be tricky to photograph as they don’t always follow direction and they can be unpredictable. The following are some tips to help you capture your pet’s personality and beauty to create professional insta-worthy photographs.

Capture their character
What is it that makes your pet special? Are they playful, lazy, mischievous or adventurous? Try and take photographs of them doing what it is they do best and love to do. When taking pictures of your pet, stay true to their character—just like you would for a portrait of a person.  Before you start snapping, consider what makes your pet unique and how you can best portray those qualities. 

Choose a place where they are comfortable and not stressed out. You’ll be more likely to capture your pet’s true personality if you take photos of them in a favourite spot or while engaging in a favourite pastime, like playing fetch or taking a nap in a sunny spot.

Use natural light
Using natural light will help reduce the chance of red eyes and a camera flash can often startle or scare your pet.

Surprise them
Be ready with your camera so you can take a photo while they are acting natural and unaware they are being watched.

Close up photo of a cats face is a great way to show their features

Close Up or Zoom
It’s the small things that matter. Capture the detail of your pet’s whiskers or the texture of their fur with a great close-up shot. Zoom in on your favourite details using your camera’s zoom feature to get close or zoom in on your pet after the photo is taken using the cropping tool.  If in doubt, Focus on their eyes – after all “the eyes are the window to the soul”. 

Be playful
Play with them and make it fun for a more relaxed and happy photo shoot.

On their level
Be on the same level as your pets and shoot from their eye level or below, even if it means lying down on your stomach.

Be patient
A beautiful photo may not happen right away and the more relaxed you and your pet become the better the photos will be.

photographing a jumping dog

Shutter Speed
Pets can be active and spontaneous, which makes them exciting playmates, but challenging photo subjects. To help avoid getting a blurry photo try using your cameras action shooting mode or sports mode for a faster shutter speed and to capture them in action. Prevent shutter lag (the pause from the moment you press the shutter to when the camera takes the photo): hold the shutter button halfway down, wait for your subject to make their move, and then press the button down the rest of the way. Use a tripod or brace yourself against a stationary object so it’s easier to hold the camera still.

Avoid glowing pet eyes
Similar to the red-eye effect in photos of people, pet’s eyes also reflect light from a camera flash. This reflection (pet-eye) appears as different colors, most often green or yellow. Because pet-eye is not always red, automatic red-eye removal tools are usually unable to eliminate it. To help avoid red eye avoid using your camera’s flash, stand further away and try to prevent the flash from directly hitting your pet’s face and eyes, shoot from an angle instead of straight on.

Try something new
For example, consider photographing your pet upside down! This yields a particularly amusing photo when the animal has droopy jowls, like bulldogs and boxers. Just roll him or her over, give their belly a rub, and take your shot!

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Author: Bec

From a very young age Bec has always had a great love and appreciation for all animals. Bec is a qualified Veterinary Nurse and also has a Bachelor in Applied Science Animal Studies with special interest in Wildlife and Recreational Animals. Her studies have been put to good use working in various animal industries including small and large animal veterinary clinics, horse studs and the family cattle property. Horses have played an important part in her life, living on a horse stud and caring for horses throughout breeding, foaling, spelling, racing and retirement. Bec is the proud mum of two gorgeous girls, a beautiful Cocker Spaniel, a cheeky cockatiel, chickens and many horses including a naughty little pony.

One Reply to “Pet Photography: Tips for taking the perfect photo”

  1. I must say it takes patience and persistence to get a great shot, in the right place at the right time, and not always an expensive camera, it is a matter of playing with your camera, & using some of those features the sales guy suggests or out of the manual can help,

    But if you are like me, look for a story, your pet being the subject, try to show some surroundings to help tell the story, eg sky, grass, trees etc, these look more natural, than set up photos eg, studio portraits.
    Most importantly have fun, with your camera and your pet, I do.
    Especially when I get lovely photos like above, it adds to the benefits of spending time with your pet, a great keep sake.


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