Say Cheese! Tips for your best pet photos

Nov 01, 2019

Aside from being a veterinarian, I have also grown my photography business over the past year. Taking photos can be so much fun, and of course everyone wants to have the best photos to share of your own pets! Whether you’re using your phone or a fancier camera, here are some tips to take your pet photos to the next level.

1. Lighting matters most! You’ll find some of the best photos are taken towards the end of the day during “golden hour.” This is the last hour of the day (sometimes 2) before the sun sets. In most cases, it is really worth it to time out your lighting to get the very best. Lighting during late morning through the afternoon tends to be very harsh and unless you are in the shade will cause unwanted shadows on your pet. Unless there is very low light close to sunset, it is best to shoot with the sun coming behind your pet (not facing them). You can also achieve similar results very early in the morning when the sun is first rising. Natural light rather than flash will help give you more pleasing images.

2. A tired pet is more compliant: If your pet tends to be more on the hyper or excitable side it is best to take pictures when they are sleepy. Consider taking them on a long walk or some form of exercise prior to taking photos so they will be less likely to run off and more likely to hold their pose!

3. Have them wait for a meal: A food motivated pet may also behave better for you. It may help to bring along your pet’s meal and use this for treats to entice them to obey commands. You’ll find with an already full belly your pet may be less likely to care about those extra snacks you’re giving. Bringing along a squeaky toy or method of distraction can help to get your pet to look at you for the photo.

4. Be fashionable: If possible, skip the harness when trying to take photos of your pet. Neck collars tend to be less distracting and you can also fancy them up with accessories such as bow ties or a bandana.

5. Pay attention to the background: Although your pet is the star of the photo do keep an eye on other things in the shot as well. Odd objects in the background can be distracting and take the focus off of your pet. Keeping all your pet’s limbs in the photo if you are taking a full body image (without cutting off feet etc) will make your photo look more professional.

6. Different angles make it interesting: If you want your photos to stand out, consider switching the angle to make it more unique. Getting down low and shooting from their perspective or standing on a chair etc. can give you some interesting views.

7. Practice makes perfect: The more you practice, the better you’ll get!

Hopefully these tips will help your pet photo skills. Now get out there and take some great pictures!
Andrea Gilstrap, DVM