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9 Pet Photography Tips

pet photography tips

If you’re looking to capture some stunning pet photography, then you’ve come to the right place.

Because while pets are unbelievably cute, taking pictures of your best friend isn’t easy.

Pets, unlike humans, do not understand what we are trying to do. They won’t just pose for the camera!

That’s where this article comes in handy.

I’m going to give you nine simple tips for pet photography…

…that will get you taking beautiful pet photos in minutes!

Let’s dive right in.

1. Use natural light

pet photography tips kitten in shoes

When doing pet photography, always use natural light.


For one, flash can cause the red-eye effect, which looks, well, bad.

Plus, flash bursts can scare animals.

That’s why I recommend shooting outside (go out when it’s cloudy for some soft diffused light).

You can also try shooting indoors, but make sure you’re in a well-lit room (ideally one with a large window).

2. Keep the eyes sharp

Sharp eyes are always important in portrait photography – and pet photography is no different!

As they say, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” And your pet’s eyes can be very expressive.

So make sure to focus on your pet’s eyes. Keep them tack sharp.

(If you’re working with a shallow depth of field and can only get one eye in focus, make sure it’s the one closer to the camera!)

These days, some cameras offer eye AF for animals. With eye AF activated, your camera will identify your pet’s eyes – and nail focus consistently! So if your camera does offer this feature, I highly recommend you try it out.

pet photography tips cat close-up

3. Go to your pet

It is very important that your pet feels comfortable and at ease.

So instead of forcing your pet to come to you…

…go to them.

Most importantly, get down on your pet’s level. Sit on the floor or lie on your belly and remember to shoot from your pet’s eye level or below.

We all know how a dog looks when viewed from above; this is the way we always see them.

Instead, show us how your pet sees the world!

4. Highlight your pet’s character

You know your pet better than anyone else, and a successful picture is one that conveys the character of its subject.

So try to display your pet’s character in your photos.

If you have a lazy cat, show them yawning. If your animal is of the playful type, show them in action performing their favorite trick.

Really, the opportunities are endless! Just ask yourself: What is special about my pet?

And then try to communicate that in your next photo!

cat staring out a window

5. Go macro

Macro pet photography is intimate and often stunning.

cat abstract close up of head

And it’s not tough to do, either.

Simply use a macro lens, a telephoto lens, or some type of close-focusing camera.

Then fill the frame with your pet’s face and fur!

You’ll soon find that close-up shots make some of the best pet portraits!

6. Surprise your pet

One of the most difficult aspects of pet photography is keeping your pet still.

(Especially if you have a pretty energetic pet…)

So here’s an easy trick:

First, let your pet play quietly.

Then, once you have your camera set up and ready, give a quick whistle.

This will surprise your pet. With luck, you’ll have a few seconds to capture them in a nice, alert posture!

7. Time your session carefully

If you want to capture some formal-looking pet photography, then “schedule” your photoshoot when your animal is somewhat sleepy.

You might shoot after your pet has woken up from a nap. Or you might shoot late in the day, when your pet is tired and lacks energy.

That way, it will be much easier to capture a sharp shot.

Of course, if you want a more dynamic series of shots, then grab your camera at a time when your pet is especially active!

8. Be patient

Pet photography requires a lot of patience.

Dogs, cats, and other pets can be pretty excitable – but if you’re patient enough, your furry friend will end up relaxing.

And that’s when you can get some of your best shots!

In fact, you might consider starting your photoshoot with action images.

Then, as your pet calms down, you can capture intimate close-ups, cute poses, and more.

dog at the window pet photography tips

9. Experiment

Here’s your final pet photography tip:


Because while the advice in this article will certainly get you some great shots…

…there’s always room to try new things!

cat jumping off the furniture

So take your time and enjoy the session. Don’t be afraid to test different approaches, angles, and compositions.

Shoot a lot; you can worry about the results later!

Pet photography tips: Final words

Hopefully, you now feel well-equipped to capture some stunning pet photos!

By getting low, being patient, carefully timing your session, and more, you can practically guarantee gorgeous results.

Now over to you:

What pets do you like to photograph? Share your favorite pet photography in the comments below!

This guest post on pet photography was submitted by Antoine Khater at All Day I Dream About Photography. Read more unique photography and retouching tips on Antoine’s website or subscribe to his RSS feed.

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