7 Photography Tips for Capturing Great Pet Pics

As a photojournalist, I truly believe every picture does indeed tell a story.

7 Photography Tips for Capturing Great Pet Pics

Every day, our pets bring us so much joy, whether it is that moment a puppy lick’s a child’s face, a therapy dog brings happiness to an ailing or lonely person, a cat chases a butterfly, a horse gallops across a misty field, a bunny nibbles on a piece of hay, or a dog rolls in the first snow of the season, taking a photograph allows us to capture and enjoy that moment, over and over again.

Every day can be a day of many special moments to capture our pets on film (or memory card). And, with the beautiful Autumn and winter holiday seasons right around the corner, it is a perfect time to discuss some of my FiveSibes pet photography tips to help bring out the best shutterbug in you!

1. It’s All in the Angle

For some really engaging shots, shoot from your pet’s level. Get down on the floor to capture your dog’s expression while s/he is playing with a toy, or lay on the ground to capture your dog as s/he comes splashing out of the pool or lake. Try tipping the camera lens on an angle or zoom in for some fun, artsy shots.

2. Natural Lighting

No flash is best. Check your light source and shoot with the flash off, for a softer, more natural tone. For photos taken inside or out, let the natural light cast shadows across your pet for a beautiful mood portrait. When shooting in low light, you will need to steady your camera by using a tripod, or you can support your camera by leaning your arms on the floor, table, etc.

Need a flash? Watch out for red and “green” eye! Use a diffuser if you can. There are also some apps and photo programs available to digitally help remove red eye issues.

3. Fun Accessories

Don’t be afraid to try out different lenses, filters, and film. A fish eye can add so much interest to a photo, while different filters and black-and-white (whether for the camera or digital manipulation via a photo application) can really give the photo a whole different feel.

4. Camera, Action!

If your camera has an auto sports mode, use it. If not, manually move your camera along with your moving pet, keeping the subject in the viewfinder and then snap the photo. This will give a great freeze-frame shot that really shows the animal in motion.

5. What’s in Your Background?

Before clicking that shutter button, check the background of your shot.

  • Are the curtains hanging evenly?
  • Is there a trashcan or a messy table visible?

While there are now digital photography programs and apps available to erase photo clutter, if you can set up a clean scene beforehand, it will save you time and keep the original integrity of the shot.

6. Attention, Please!

To capture your dog’s attention, use a squeaky toy or treat to draw his/her attention. This especially works well for photographing a group of dogs to get them to all look in the same direction. And don’t forget to reward them after the photos are taken

7. Special Events and Holidays

For weddings, be sure to include the pets! Pose them with their bridal human and the bridal party. Shoot a portrait of the dog wearing a matching bow tie or floral crown. For birthdays, photograph your dog enjoying a lick of his/her own slice of the ice cream cake, or wearing a birthday bandana with balloons floating in the background. In the autumn, outdoor shots come to life when your dog jumps into a pile of colorful leaves, visits a pumpkin patch, or poses with your human trick-or-treaters in costume! During the Christmas season, add some sparkle to your photographs by having your dog lay under the glistening tree with a gift box, or have your dog pose with colored string lights, wear a big red bow, or snuggled on a fuzzy blanket in a sled out in the sparkling white snow!

No matter where or how you are photographing your pet, be creative, be aware, and have fun! Whether we tell the story of our pet’s life as it unfolds, or we imagine a tale wrapped around the image we capture through our lenses, these are all special moments in life that become precious memories to proudly display in a frame, on canvas, in an album, or part of a slideshow for you to relive and enjoy for years to come.

Photography Tips for Your Pet and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers

dorothy wills-rafteryDorothy Wills-Raftery

Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the international FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of “The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.” Named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, Dorothy is a 5-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2016 for her writing. An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home­ with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and new grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram (@FiveSibesMom).

Tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to 7 Photography Tips for Capturing Great Pet Pics

  1. I can always use photography tips. Checking the background is one I really need to remember. Great post.

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thanks, Lola! Those backgrounds are tricky! Sometimes in the excitement of snapping the pic, we don’t always notice what’s in the background until we are reviewing the pics. I’ve had a few comical ones over the years!

  2. Great tips! :) I’m always trying to improve my photography skills for my pups. Natural lighting is key!

  3. Great tips! I’m photographing a dog show this weekend to benefit my non-profit and will definitely be using these.

  4. Kate says:

    This is a great basic list of photography tips. I need to look for an auto sports mode on my camera. That would likely help a lot for in motion photos.

  5. Paroma says:

    Great tips Dorothy! Our Babu is so fidgety, I need to try some of these useful photography tips and see if there is any improvement!

  6. These are great tips! I often forget to check the background. I guess I always think I can crop and edit later, but it truly is so much easier to get things right from the beginning.

  7. Fabulous tips and ones we will incorporate in our photo shoots! We struggle as our dogs are prone to not wanting to look our way when we are holding a camera – they have some weird camera 6th sense. I’ve always wondered about camera speed and would it be worth it to invest in one due to our dogs ‘rude’ anti-photography behavior (like they’re celebrities or something!). Any tips in this regard, please let me know!

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thank you, Rebecca! I would definitely entice them with treats (even the most superstar pups can’t resist!) and also something you know they love, i.e. a favorite squeak toy, treat bag, etc. Then treat them right after the photo, pretty soon, they will loooove it when you pull out the camera!

  8. Lori Hiliard says:

    I’m just now getting started on photographing my dog and cat for my blog. Right now I simply use my camera phone, but I’ll be investing in a DSLR camera soon. Where can I go to get more information on the right camera for my use?

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Hi, Lori! You can Google the top/best DSLR cameras and review them. Then go over to the brand’s page and research the models you are interested in, check out the quality of the photos and what the megapixels are for each, and then read reviews for them to find out what issues/quirks folks may have, and talk to other photographers for their opinion. If you can, go into a camera store and check them out in person so you can see if you like the weight and feel of it as well!

  9. Dash Kitten says:

    We have a point and shoot and our iPhone it works a treat for getting a shot fast! We must look crazy to the neighbours crawling around in the grass at cat level.

  10. Beth says:

    These are great tips! Every person should have lots of wonderful images of their beloved pets!

  11. FiveSibesMom says:

    Thanks, Lola! Those backgrounds are tricky! Sometimes in the excitement of snapping the pic, we don’t always notice what’s in the background until we are reviewing the pics. I’ve had a few comical ones over the years!

  12. Great ideas. I’ve tried to get on the floor to take photos from the girls’ level, but they always walk over to me for some loving. I have very little natural light in my house and try to use it to my advantage when possible. I’m working on improving my photographs!

  13. Great photo tips. I usually don’t think about the background until I look at the photo and then try to crop it out. My dogs aren’t as responsive when I have the camera out. Do iphones have auto sports mode?

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thanks, Sandy! Sometimes we are trying to get that “oh my gosh” moment, that we don’t see or have time for the background scan! And yes! The iPhone version of sports mode (sort of) is the “burst” mode. While not as fabulous as a camera’s sports mode, it can certainly work in a pinch, especially for camera-shy pets! Just be sure to keep moving along with the subject. :-)

  14. DearMishu says:

    Dorothy – the way you describe the photo taking – omg – so much passion, I love it! Your description makes me learn photography.

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thank you, Mishu! That’s so amazing hear! Photography and writing truly are my passions! I always say I “see” life through my lens and love documenting all of life’s moments – big ones and small ones – to relive over again!

  15. Irene McHugh says:

    Great tips to remember. That background piece can be a huge pain. I try to remember to check before I’m calling the pups over or squeaking a toy for them. But we’ve been re-organizing so much, sometimes everywhere I turn I feel like there’s a bin or a pile. Ultimately, I prefer taking pictures of the pups outside for the more natural background and the better light.

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thank you, Irene! Oh, boy, can I relate! I was having some renovations done a few years back and boxes were stored everywhere! Every time I tried to take some cute shots, there was always something in the background! Maddening! Thankfully, there is software, but I am glad the boxes gone now! And yes, I love outdoor pics the best – for both animal and human shots!

  16. I love taking pictures of my pets! In the “old days” when I shot slides, it was quite expensive since I had to shoot 3 or 4 as many shots to get one good one. Digital makes a big difference! Your pictures are wonderful.

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thank you for the compliment, Amy! I remember slides! I still have a collection! Digital certainly does make a difference – and while it took this photography dinosaur a bit of time to let go of my film cameras, the amount of time saved with digital is just amazing!

  17. Great tips. It also have to remember to always check the background. So many times I end up cropping my photos cause there is something out of place.

  18. Terrific tips! I especially love your advice on getting down on the dog’s level rather than standing over the dog. The only thing I think this post missed was some times on keeping drooly dogs clean while photographing them. That is my biggest challenge. :)

  19. Shayla says:

    I love my fish eye lens! I also have an old kaleidoscope for my film camera that is a ton of fun!!! I need to make more time to have fun with all of my equipment again!

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Fish eyes and wide angle lenses are great! Love taking pics of my Huskies as a group with the wide! I haven’t seen a kaleidoscope for many years – now that’s fun! Would love to have you take some and share!

Leave a Reply to Sweet Purrfections Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.