Top 20 Professional Pet Photography Tips

Have you ever seen awesome pictures of pets online, and wondered how they were taken? Being a pet photographer is not a walk in the park. You have to juggle managing your pet, ensuring you get its attention while simultaneously trying to take pictures. With all these, you sometimes end up with just average pictures.

I will be sharing with you really easy-to-use tips that will take your pet photography to the next level. The tips shared are divided into two.

The first set of tips is on how to manage your pet during the photo session. The second set of tips is photography-skill related. Now read through this professional Pet Photography Tips.

What Are The Best Pet Photography Tips?

Tips for Effective Photographic Style

  • Keep practicing
  • Pre-plan your Shoot
  • Use Props
  • Art of the eyes.
  • Lights or no lights
  • Pick the right lens
  • Shoot from different angles and perspectives
  • Shoot in burst mode
  • Maximize your focus
  • Use Backgrounds
  • Aperture/ Depth of Field 

01. Keep Practicing

Pet photography is unique in every way, and even the best photographer would need time to master it. So, do not be hard on yourself. Practice is the key to growth. Keep at it and soon, even you would be amused at the quality of your pictures .

02. Pre-Plan Your Shoot

Always pre-plan your shoot. Outline your concept, the equipment, and the props you will need. Consider the environment beforehand, and create contingency plans. Your pet would be following your lead, and you owe it them to know exactly what you are doing. 

03. Use Props

Use props to enhance the personality of your dog, and to create comic relief. This includes dresses, accessories, toys, and the full construction of a dedicated set. Props are one of the best ways to make the session fun for the animal, making it an immersive experience. 

04. Art Of The Eyes.

We all at one time or another have been captivated by the eyes of our pets, from the beautiful eyes of cats to that of dogs. The art of eyes, therefore, lays emphasis on focusing on the eyes of your pet to create magnetic photographs.

05. Lights Or No Lights

The more common advice when it comes to lights in pet photography is to use daylight. This is a piece of sound advice if you will be shooting outdoors. However, for indoor shoots, you need to use flash, which is often not recommended as it may startle the pet.

However, the trick to using flash is to give your animal a treat every time you use it. This way it quickly gets used to it. Also, when using artificial lighting, for indoor shoots, make it soft.

06. Pick The Right Lens

Your choice of lens for pet photography depends largely on your concept. For pictures where you would be focusing on just a part of the pet, like the nose, then a macro lens is required.

For outdoor pictures, you need a wide lens. However for indoor shoots, go for a normal lens, and then manually control the aperture and focus on the camera to get what you want.

07. Shoot From Different Angles And Perspectives

Being able to shoot from several angles and perspectives will aid your sessions. First, not all pets will readily remain stationary while being photographed, So, you must be able to move around, capturing your pet from several angles.

Also, shooting at different angles is creative. It provides you with more options for how your pet looks within the same setting.

08. Shoot In Burst Mode

By shooting in burst mode, you will be able to automatically capture multiple moments. O course, the downside to this is selecting usable pictures from the many shots, however, you are more likely to have a productive session.

09. Maximize Your Focus

You would have to choose between manually controlling the focus of your camera or relying on auto-focus. Consider using your autofocus if your pet is all over the place. However, If you can get your pet to remain still for an extended period, then the manual focus will work just fine. 

10. Use Backgrounds

For, indoor pet photography, your dedication to the background will determine largely how beautiful your pictures are. Taking time to create amazing backgrounds is often worth it. If you will be shooting outdoors, the background might not be too important. Using a short depth of field, you can focus on the pet while the background remains blurred.

11. Aperture/ Depth Of Field 

Use your aperture based on the lighting condition of your set. If you are shooting indoors, with insufficient daylight or limited artificial lighting, then shoot with your camera set at a large aperture. The larger the aperture, the shorter the depth of field. Shooting with a short depth of field is perfect for the portrait style of photography.

How To Manage The Pets for Professional Photograph

Tips To Manage The Pet

  • Make your pets comfortable
  • Study their body language by monitoring camera 
  • Make it a fun experience for the  pet
  • Get rid of distraction
  • Use sounds For Attention
  • Be flexible
  • Focus on character
  • Take breaks
  • Reward your pet

Note that these tips are used by some of the most successful pet photographers. And yes, you can apply these tips while photographing all types of pets, from an overly active dog and a shy cat to a nervous billy.

01. Make Your Pet Comfortable

The success of your photography session is dependent largely on your pet. Therefore, make them comfortable. If you will be shooting in a new environment, go along with toys, blankets, and familiar furniture. limit the number of unfamiliar faces around. If it is not your pet, ensure the owner is with you.

02. Study Your Pet’s Body Language

Be quick to observe the mood of your pet. Is it excited, nervous, tired, or completely uninterested in what you need it to do? Act according to its mood. This might sometimes require you to suspend shooting for that day or for a while. 

03. Make It A Fun Experience For The Pet

Yes! This goes without saying especially if you will be shooting your pet several times in the future. You want to make the experience one of fun for the pet, so it would oblige excitedly every time you need it for future projects. 

04. Get Rid Of Distraction

We already mentioned limiting the number of unfamiliar faces around. Same way, as much as possible, do not allow other animals around even if your animal is familiar with them, of course except if they are all models for the session.

Keep the environment as quiet as possible as sudden noises will rattle your pet. As much as possible, shoot in an isolated environment.

05. Use Sounds For Attention

Train your pet to react in certain ways through the use of sounds. A popular method is the use of whistles when you need it to remain still or look at you. Over time, the pet will get used to it which will make your shooting easy.

06. Be flexible

Be flexible. You are dealing with an animal. You might have to switch styles or change an entire concept based on the mood of your pet. The key to being flexible is to be patient. Any attempt to coerce your pet to act in a certain way will only backfire in the end.

07. Focus on character

Build your concept around the character/personality of your pet. This is way more effective than trying to influence your pet to act in ways not true to it. If your pet is particularly moody, then create concepts around that. If the pet is predominantly happy most of the time, then create concepts around that trait.

08. Take Breaks

Do not fix long sessions without multiple breaks. Animals often have short attention spans and they get distracted quite easily. Hence, organize your sessions to include multiple breaks as as the animal want. And once your pet shows signs of fatigue, wrap up for the day.

09. Reward your pet

This means a lot of treats, with a lot of extra on days you shoot. Your pet deserves it. The key is to ensure your dog is aware it is getting special attention, or more treats because it has done great for the day(even if it didn’t).

People Also Ask

How do I make my pet comfortable during shoots?

Make every session fun for your pets and use treats to encourage and reward it after every successful session. Most importantly, understand the mood of your pet.

What’s the best type of lighting for pet photography?

As much as possible, use daylight. However, for indoor photography, ensure to use soft lights. Finally, if you must use flashlights, then use treats to make the pet comfortable with them. 

What is the best lens for pet photography?

The type of lens you would use is dependent more on what you intend to achieve. Use a wide lens for outdoor pictures. Use a DSLR camera with which you can control the aperture, and focus for indoor photography. 

Final Words

To create awesome pictures in pet photography, you must be able to manage the pet, ensuring they corporate with you and also employ specific photographic skills. The more your practice, using some of the tips mentioned in this article, your ability to achieve your goal for every session will increase.