Pet Photography Tips: How to get the best shot

Pet Photography Tips: How to get the best shot

by Bessie YoungPhotography

I have learned so much since my first pet portrait session. If only I knew then what I know now! Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned to get amazing pet portraits:

  • Allow time for your pet to settle down. Don’t expect to get any pictures for the first 20 minutes or so. If you start off with this expectation it will help you not be frustrated as well as help the photo session to go smooth. When you are upset, your furry friend notices. This will change the whole dynamic of the session.
  • Make friends with the animal. This will help you take excellent pictures as well as get some phenomenal eye contact. You can do this by your voice, your body language, and your body position. I typically get down around the animals level. This is comfortable for the animal and also allows for a great perspective while taking the pictures.
  • Let them explore. An animal gets comfortable once they can move around and scope out their area. If you can, let your pet off their leash for a few minutes. If this is not possible, walk them around the vicinity you plan to have the portrait session.
  • Bring treats! If you are taking pictures of your own pet, you know what they like best, so make sure to have a little baggie full of delicious treats in your pocket. If you are taking a portrait of a client’s pet, ask the owner to bring along a baggie of treats or ask the owner if it is ok to use ‘x’ type of treat. Animals LOVE food. It really is the way to their heart.
  • Q: But how do you get the dog ‘tongue’ shot you ask?

    A: Peanut butter! This makes the dog lick his lips for a few moments while you click away.

    **Make sure that the dog or animal doesn’t have any type of food allergies prior to giving them any treats. **






    1. Make noise. I sound like a crazy person when I am taking pictures of pets. Don’t be afraid to use your voice. You can make cat sounds, squeak sounds, fake sneezes, and so forth. If you don’t want to make funny noises with your own voice a great alternative is to bring a few different toys. This will help get the animals attention while creating a wonderful expression on his face. Use these sparingly and make sure you are ready to take the shot. The expression will only last for a brief moment.
    2. Have Patience. I decided that this needed to be the closing point since it is so important. Animals know when you are frustrated. You have to have mountains of patience when shooting animals. Make sure to not get frustrated just because the animal moved. Expect the pet to move. Expect that you will take a bunch of photos with only a few turning out perfectly.

    Pet portraits are some of my favorites. I absolutely love animals and find that they have a true connection with people. They are only around for a brief moment of our lives, but no matter how brief that moment is it will stay in our heart for a lifetime.

    I hope this article helped you get some amazing pet portraits or persuaded you to get portraits done of your pet. Stay tuned for the upcoming post on pet photography and camera settings.


    Wishing you the best!