Pet Photography Tips For Taking Spectacular Shots

Let’s go over the tips and tricks to be an expert in pet photography. We will break down the best photography equipment to achieve one spectacular shot!

Have a furry friend you’d like to snap a photo of? Not sure how to turn your family pet into a model at a per photography session? Whether you professional photographer or regular pet owner, capturing a stunning picture of your pet can create memories that will last a lifetime. And if done well, a snapshot of a beloved pet can become a piece of art for your home.    

Photos of pets have exploded in popularity across all social media platforms. Think about it; it’s difficult to scroll past a picture of an adorable pet on Facebook and Instagram. A great image of your animal companion can earn you some likes and comments on social media. Plus, if you have your own business or brand, pet photography can draw more customers to your advertisements.  

Today, let’s go over the tips and tricks to be an expert in pet photography. We will break down the best photography equipment to achieve one spectacular snapshot. Also, we will dive into how to compose a photoshoot at home for your animal companion. Not only that, we’ll discuss how to work with your pet during a photo session. Let’s dive right into the exciting world of pet photography. 

Background Composition for Pet Photography

The setting is just as important as the subject when creating the ideal composition. Does your dog have a favorite backyard or park they love to frolic in? What about that cozy perch by a sun-filled window your cat loves to relax in? Wherever your pet feels the happiest, consider using that place as your background. Another idea is to include your pet’s favorite stuffed animal or toy into the shot. This will add character and personality to the picture.  

Outdoor lighting is best, preferably on a sunny day. A harsh flash of the camera or an artificial light source can flood the exposure level and negatively impact the quality of an image. Besides, the bright lights may be too intense for an animal’s eyes. Natural light is ideal in pet photography. 

Choose a location that feels right for your pet and makes them feel at ease.

What’s Your Angle?

As strange as it sounds, get up close and personal with your pet. A close up shot with highlight the fine details in your animal’s appearance. Accentuate the texture of the fur, feathers or scales. Those exciting shapes and colors can bring a subject to life.  

Another pro tip is it get down to your pet’s eye level. See the world from their perspective. Crouch down or sit or lay on the ground for an interesting angle. Not only will this make your animal feel more comfortable, but you may also catch a great photo from a lower viewpoint.

When composing a shot, do not be afraid to experiment. Take your time and test out different angles and lens. By trying out new approaches, you will end up with a variety of results to pick and choose from. 

Your Pet, Your Model

They say patience is a virtue, and you will need a lot of patience in pet photography. Let’s face it; our animal friends can be easily distracted. Keeping your model’s attention is a vital part of pet photography.  One pro tip is to have rewards within arms reach. Store a couple of small treats in your back pocket. Or have their favorite toy close by. Even a belly rub will do! Anything to reward your pet for cooperating when photographing, even if it’s just for short intervals. 

Try not to frazzle or excite your pet. If you move around too fast or talk too loud, you’ll never get a good shot and end up frustrated with a camera roll full of unusable images. You see, animals are very attuned to human emotions. If they sense your agitation, they too can become uneasy. Constantly yelling at your dog to “Sit!” or “Stay!” or “Come here!” will cause them to be restless. However, if you remain calm during a photo session, your pet will relax. Being patience can earn you one beautiful snapshot.

Capture your pet’s personality

Every pet is different. Showing off their unique personality is a major plus in any snapshot. Is your pet energetic and active? Consider composing an epic action shot. Have your pet running in the backyard or playing fetch. What if your furry friend is more of a couch potato? Snap a photo of them in their favorite snuggle spot in your home. Whatever your pet’s personality, try and incorporate their one of a kind attributes within the image.

Focus on their eyes. The eyes of animals can be so expressive and soulful. While having your pet look directly into the camera can be tricky; catching an animal’s alert face is almost priceless. Here’s a trick to grabbing their attention. Let your pet play by themselves for a couple of minutes. Then, make a sudden noise or call their name, surprising them. For a few seconds, you will have their undivided attention. Keep in mind, constantly calling for your pet will confuse them and they will lose interest. Sparingly catching their attention works best. 

Hire a Professional for your Pet Photography

Not so comfortable behind a camera? Don’t worry, you can always hire a professional photographer. Highly trained photographers may be located in your area. No matter how rambunctious your pooch is, professional photographers are highly skilled and more than prepared to handle animals during a photo session. Since you know your pet best, work with the photographer and help them keep your pet’s attention. Think about bringing a squeaky toy to the appointment, just in case your pet needs a little encouragement.  

Here is a word of advice to keep in mind when you are scheduling a photo session with a professional photographer. Plan your appointment during the time of day when your pet is a bit tired. What’s the reason behind this trick? If your fluffy companion is somewhat sleepy at the beginning of a photoshoot, then they are more likely to stay still when photographing. Consider taking your dog for a short walk before the photoshoot. However, if your pet feels ill, it’s best to cancel the appointment. Most professional photographers are understanding and will reschedule a session. Just be sure to give them advanced notice. 

Also, by going to a professional photographer, you and your whole family can even pose with your pet. Create memories that will last a lifetime. During the holidays, photos with the family pet make wonderful holiday cards that you can send to all of your loved ones. How do you find photographers in your area? If you live in Singapore, check out the ShutterTurf website to browse local photographers at an affordable rate. Not a resident of Singapore, find photography studios in your local area on your preferred search engine or in print advertisements. 

Best Camera Settings for Pet Photography

Whether you are using a DSLR camera or a smartphone, finding the right camera setting is essential when snapping a photo of your furry friend. Most DSLR cameras are programmed with burst mode, allowing the photographer to take multiple shots. This feature is ideal for catching an animal mid-jump or while in motion. Fast shutter speed is also great when your model is a moving target.

Portrait mode is another useful setting in pet photography. While this feature is not built into every DSLR cameras, It’s a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal of photography magic. Portrait mode can blur the background and isolate the subject in the foreground. Utilizing the right camera setting can make or break an image. Learn about, and even experiment with, the different settings built into your particular DSLR camera. 

Best Lens and Filters For Pet Photography

Now, let’s focus on the specific pieces of photography equipment needed for a pet photoshoot. 

Utilizing the right lens or filters in photography can elevate a picture to the next level. Luckily, there are a few different types of lens that are great for pet photography. Although the lens can be costly if photography is your passion, then investing in the lens will be well worth the expense. Remember when I talked about experimenting in pet photography? If you are able too, test out the different lens on your subject. 

Have an extra large pet? Wide angle lens is perfect for taking pictures of big animals, like horses or large breeds of dogs. As the name suggests, a wide angle lens can capture wider views, compared to a standard lens. This allows you to be imaginative when creating the composition of a shot.

A macro lens is also ideal for pet photography. Highlighting fur, feathers, or scales will bring an image to life. A macro lens is designed to capture even the most minuscule of details, which is what you want to achieve when photographing your animal companion. Want a cool effect on your photos? A fisheye lens is made of incredibly curved glass and creates a warped, fishbowl effect for your snapshot. When your pet looks directly into a fisheye lens, the results can be some funny images.

Next, let’s talk about filters. Choosing the right filter can improve the overall quality of an image immensely. Using a filter that adds brightness to the photo is an excellent choice as well. A polarizing filter is ideal for outdoor photography. Not only does this filter improve color saturation, but it also darkens blue skies, creating a bold contrast. 

If you are serious about pet photography, consider taking the time and doing the research for the ideal photography equipment and editing tools.

No DSLR? No Problem!

Don’t have a DSLR camera or photography equipment? Luckily, an expensive camera is not a necessity to take a perfect photo. With advances in technology, the camera built into your smartphone can work just as well as a professional grade camera.

When photographing with your smartphone, turn off the flash. Unfortunately, the flash on a smartphone does not adequately illuminate the subject, nor the scene, accurately. Having natural light when taking pictures of your pet works best.

Another benefit to using your smartphone is easy access to editing apps. There are many editing apps that can improve the quality of an image. Snapseed is a popular choice among pet photographers. Instead of a DSLR camera, utilize your smartphone in your photography endeavors. 

Final Thoughts

Pets play an important role in our lives. Frankly, some pets are beloved family members. So, why not capture your furry friend in an awesome photograph?  During a photo session, work together with your pet to capture the perfect shot. And don’t forget those treats and belly rubs, your cooperative model deserves a reward after a long photo session.

Once you have captured a fantastic shot,  you can turn your animal companion into a work of art in your own home. When the holidays roll around, send a lovely family photo to all of your loved ones. Trust me, pictures with the family dog are guaranteed to earn a beautiful frame or a spot on the fridge.  

With pet photography exploding in popularity on social media, one image of your furry friend can earn you a ton of likes and comments. Who doesn’t want that? Plus, taking photos of pets for business for marketing purposes is a great idea. Consumers are more attracted to advertising that includes adorable animals, which would be amazing for your brand or business. 

Whether you are an amateur photographer or just an avid animal lover, spend the one on one time with your pet to snap the perfect shot. If you are financially able to, consider investing in proper photography equipment and a DSLR camera. Although costly, lens and filters can add a professional touch to your photos. 

You could also opt for booking a professional pet photographer.

A picture is worth a thousand words; What would one photo say about your pet?


  1. I have to admit that the hardest part of getting a photo of your pet is the fact of getting them to look at the camera. Although, I’ve found that it’s easy to get their attention if you hold a treat while taking your photo.

  2. I am an amateur photographer and I tried taking photos of my dog but I just don’t have the patience for it. It really does take a lot of skill and waiting around to get a good shot and capture their true personality.

  3. I used my iPhone last weekend coupled with that app (snapseed) you mentioned to create simplistic and amazing photos of my pet which I’ll truly treasure for a very long time. The photo got me lots of likes and comments on Instagram. I had thought getting a DSLR camera is the ultimate but you proved me wrong.
    Just decided to drop by and say thank you for this article

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