Pet Photography 101: How to Take Awesome Photos of Your Pet

Pets are valued members of the family. They offer unconditional love and unique personalities that add immeasurable value to their owners’ lives. Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, or bird, capturing photos of your pet can help you create lasting memories.

However, pets don’t always understand the photography process. Here are some helpful tips on how to take awesome photos of your pet.

Use Natural Lighting When Possible

For crisp, clear photos, ditch the flash, and opt for natural lighting. A cloudy, grey day is the perfect weather for taking photos outdoors. If you’re taking indoor shots, try to set up next to a large window to take advantage of the diffused lighting.

How to Take Awesome Photos of Your Pet

The golden hour in the evening is also a fantastic time to take photos. This short-yet-beautiful timeframe takes place when the sun is setting, as it casts a golden hue over everything. 

Overhead lights and lamps tend to throw unflattering shadows that can detract from the quality of your image.

Consider the End Goal

When planning your pictures, think about how you’ll be using them. Snapping fun, candid shots is a great way to remember fun times with your pet. However, having a purpose will take your photos to the next level.

Are you trying to get the next Instagrammable shot for your dog’s account? Is this photo session going to be used for holiday cards? Or are you trying to turn your cat into royalty in a custom oil painting —they got cool stuff at Instapainting for inspiration.

Having a goal will help you frame your shot and determine what you need to get the photo you want.

Practice Some Shots Without Your Pet

Before you add your pet to the photo, take a few preparation shots to set the scene. By doing this, you’ll be able to ensure the lighting and set up are what you want before adding your pet. As pets can lack the patience or vision we have when setting up photo opportunities, the less time you need them for, the better.

Be sure to give your pet a break throughout the process as well. That way, you’ll both keep your patience levels in check and be able to get the shots you want.

Experiment with Different Angles and Focal Points

When you take pictures of your dog, it’s best to get on their level and focus on the eye that’s closest to you. This will reduce any weird angles that create blurry images or a sense of disproportion. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t try new things.

Experiment with different angles, such as getting on the ground and looking up at your dog as he peers at you from on the couch. Focus on your cat’s paws or tail for a journalistic, artistic image. Let your imagination guide you. During your process, you might find a new look that you love. Worst case scenario, you eliminate the other possibilities and delete the failed images. 

Do Some Basic Editing

While taking crisp, clear shots is essential for high-quality pet photos, some basic editing skills will go a long way. Take some time to use a simple editing tool, like LightRoom, to experiment with filters, sharpening, and focal points. Sometimes a simple color adjustment is all that’s needed to make a good photo amazing.

The key to editing pet photos is to make the viewer feel as though they are in the moment. Don’t edit so heavily that your dog no longer looks like himself. 

Pay Your Pet for Their Time

Finally, be sure to pay your pet for their modeling services. A new toy or treat should be sufficient. Remember to give them some extra TLC so that they’ll have positive associations with the camera for next time. 

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