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Foolproof Ways to Take Better Pet Photography

By Rach DePaoli | Photo Editor Tutorials

Taking photos of your pet can be a real struggle. Right when they are in the cutest position, you grab your phone to take a quick shot and then they move. Sometimes it can feel impossible to take good pet portraits. Even though you’re willing to give up your phone memory with countless photos of your pets, they don’t all have to be blurry or bad. We’re here to give you the best pet photography tips so that you can be

Once you have the best photos, BeFunky’s Photo Editor is ready to enhance them to perfection. With these simple tips, you don’t have to be an expert photographer or photo editor to get great photos of your pets that are shareable. 

10 Tips for Taking Better Pet Photography

Check out these ten tips for taking better pet photography. Once you are finished taking photos of your pet, check out our article on How to Photograph and Edit Your Cat Photos to learn the best way to edit your photos using BeFunky’s Photo Editor. This article includes helpful tips for photographing your cat, but also provides a great tutorial that you can use to put these pet photography tips to good use.

1. Follow Them Around In Their Favorite Environment

Is there a certain corner of the house that your pet loves? Do they love going to the dog park to see their friends or a nearby trail around your house? Are they the most comfortable in your living room or backyard? Find a place where you know your pet is usually comfortable, not only to play and be curious but to rest. This will help you capture the best pet photography.

favorite environment

If you know your dog loves walking on their favorite trail, but they get too excited that you can't hold their leash and a camera at the same time, opt for choosing a low-risk environment for both of you. The worst thing for your pet would be to be forced to take a cute photo when they are not able to cooperate, with an owner who is frustrated. 

indoor pet photography environment

Create an environment where they can wander and you can follow them around in their own environment. You can also show up when they are in their favorite place like on their dog bed or their favorite place on the couch. This is especially good for our older friends. 

2. Get Your Pet to Focus on Their Favorite Treats

If you have a hard time getting your pet to focus, bring some of their favorite treats. This is especially helpful for puppies or young animals that have a short attention span or get excited easily.

treats for pet photography

This is often the best way to get your pet to look directly at the camera. You can also have them do different tricks on command with those treats, like "sit," "lay," etc. That way you will have the most control and you are providing a routine that they are already familiar with.

3. Take Photos of Their Best Features

Pet photography is all about capturing your animal’s best features. Do they have the sweetest eyes or the cutest ears? Make this the focal point of the photo by highlighting this part of their features. This will help you think of ways to use their best features in your pet photography.

favorite pet features

You may hold up their ears like in the photo above, or know that the photo you want to get has to do with their sweet eyes when they are begging or when they are sleepy.

4. Get on Their Level and Play With Them

This is how I typically take photos of the animals in my life. I love getting on their level, rolling on the carpet with them as they play with their favorite ball or toy. You can really see their personality come out when they are consumed with play. You can also manipulate their bodily position to your benefit so you can get the perfect shot. Think of holding your cat’s toy in the air as they stretch and jump for it.

play with pets for photos

I usually take burst photos of them in these scenarios because it is easier to get a photo in focus when you take multiple in a row. Out of these photos, you can choose the ones that are the best and delete the rest so that it doesn’t take up space in your phone.

5. Tire Out Your Pet for an Easier Photoshoot

This is a great tip and makes your high-energy pet more docile, which can be easier for you, the photographer! After you play with them, this will allow your pet to calm down from being tired. They may simply be calm or they may knock out and take a nap, which also provides the sweetest photos.

tire out your pet for photos

When your pets are sleeping, you can move around them and take photos from multiple angles. This will help you practice your pet photography and also get you some quality photos that make you melt.

6. Live in the Moment and Get the Candid Shots

Some of the best photos are the ones you get when you are in the moment with your pet and take a candid shot of them. In order to do this, you have to be in the moment and have your gear prepared to start taking those action shots. These kinds of shots are usually the best on your phone and in broad daylight.

candid pet photos

Don’t be too concerned if the shots are perfect and in focus. Sometimes you can get some pretty great images of your pet running around when they have zoomies and part of their body is a little blurred. These kinds of shots are obviously more natural and artistic than something that is planned, but they can be quite fun and sometimes show your pet's most authentic personality. The best way to make sure you get the shot in these scenarios is to set your camera settings to burst mode.

7. Make a Strange Noise

I don’t know about you, but when I make funny or strange noises around my sister’s dog, she immediately perks her ears up and looks at me with the cutest face of curiosity. If I keep doing it, she immediately gets excited and zooms around at full speed. Know what gets your pet excited like this. It could be a certain word that they love that makes them tilt their head to the side, or it could be their favorite squeaky toy that gets them excited, focusing all of their energy on you. These are the perfect moments to snap a shot.

sounds for good pet photography

Whether it’s a weird chirp, meow, or squeak, there is some kind of sound that gets your pet’s attention, while the rest of their body freezes until they see what you are about to do. Just be careful getting their attention by using their favorite word and not following through with it – or at least a treat to distract them.

8. Use Natural Light to Your Advantage

Shooting outdoors is not only great for your pet but also because natural light can be used to your advantage. Use daylight to your advantage in and outside of the home. Your pet may love to take a nap in a window’s sunspot, or your living room might get really good light filling the room in the morning or evening. You can take your photo from the same direction as the light source or you can take a photo of your pet that is backlit. Both of these options give a completely different look to your pet photography.

natural light pet photography

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Props

Some of your animals love things we consider to be props like bowls, magazines, and baskets to name a few. Use these to your advantage! As we stated in our article 5 Low-Cost Photoshoot Ideas for Cat-Lovers, all you need is a box to get your cat to cooperate with you on a shoot.

pet props

You don’t have to go all out by putting props on your animal unless they do well with this. It can be extremely cute to see your animal decked out in certain props like below. 

wearable pet props

10. Get in the Photo With Them

Set your photo on a timer and get in the shot with them! You can do a trick with them or give them love and pets. You can get some really cute and candid photos this way.

pet photos together

Your pet may also feel more comfortable with you in the shot. After all, you are probably their favorite person and they are the most used to you.

Having a Photoshoot for Your Pet Is Easy!

With the tips above, you can create the perfect environment for a professional-looking shoot for your pet in and around your home. Once you are ready to edit your photos, use BeFunky’s Photo Editor to make any adjustments you may need.

Photo Editing, Simplified.

Photo Editing. Simplified