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Dog in camera photo view

5 Tips for Taking Great Pet Photos

1. Keep Your Pet Happy

It’s important to remember your pet’s needs during a photography shoot. An uncomfortable environment for your cat or dog won’t just result in a bad photo; it could leave them feeling stressed out.

Some pets may be distressed by unfamiliar situations, which may be the case if they aren’t used to having their photos taken. The flash of your camera might prove an unpleasant surprise, so stick to natural or steady lighting.

If your dog’s eyes are wide and showing the white, then they might feel overwhelmed by the experience. Take a break from the photos for a while, and give them a chance to relax.

2. Motivate Your Pet

Chances are, your pet will struggle with the concept of their glamour shoot. Because of this, you’re going to have to get clever about motivating them.

To get the perfect pose, consider making use of their favourite toy or edible treat. This will make them far more likely to cooperate and look into the lens of your camera.

You should also talk to your pet from behind the camera to keep them excited. This will reflect positively in the resulting photo, making your cat or dog look nice and chirpy.

3. Think About Lighting

All that fur can occasionally make cats and dogs tricky to make out in photos. During the shoot, light will be your (second!) best friend.

Pick a spot with bright light, preferably outdoors. The larger the light source, the easier it’ll be to accommodate the unpredictable movement of your pet. All this light will allow for a shorter exposure time, resulting in a much sharper image.

Think about where your light is coming from! If your pet is lit from behind, they’ll probably look too dark in the photo. Instead, try to position your pet so they’re roughly facing the light source, ensuring they’re illuminated as the main subject of the photo!

4. Angle Your Shot

Depending on your pet’s height and shape, the angle you shoot from can drastically alter their appearance in the final photo. Playing around with a range of interesting angles can make for some really fun shots.

Try bringing the camera down to ground level and encourage your pet to look into the lens for an inquisitive look. Alternative, you can really bring out your pet’s ‘puppy dog eyes’ by holding the camera high and having them look up.

As with most types of photography, following the rule of thirds can make for great composition. Imagine a grid of nine even rectangles covering the shot, and place your subject on one of the lines or where lines meet. This simple tip can help you to produce images that are as visually appealing as possible.

5. Work Fast

You might be happy to spend all afternoon taking photos of your pet, but there’s a good chance they don’t feel the same. If you want to get the best possible photo, you’ll need to plan ahead and work fast.

Particularly in the case of cats, you might only get a single chance at a good photo before they wander off on their own adventure. If you prepare the area for your shoot beforehand, then that’s less time needed to hold your pet’s attention.

Having an assistant to help you out can be very handy. Get them to play with your pet during any downtime, or distract them with toys. This will keep your pet happy, and leave you free to operate the camera to the best of your ability.