8 Tips For Capturing The Perfect Pet Photo

Get The Shot With Some Skills Plus Patience

By Jackie Cooper

Do you ever scroll through Insta and wonder, how on earth do people consistently get perfect shots of their pet? Well, with the hundreds of shoots we’ve done for our Doggy Style section, we thought it was time to pass on a few tips for how to get a magazine-worthy photo of your number one! Have a look at our 8 must dos:

1) Enlist Some Help

One thing we can say with certainty is, nothing makes your life easier than a dog wrangler! An extra hand or two on set – to manage and primp the fluffy talent – or to help get their attention, can be just what you need. If you help your friend, we’re sure they’ll return the favor. 

2) Find The Light

Most photographers find the best light is when you have warm, natural sunlight.To avoid harsh light, try shooting in the mornings or evenings, on slightly overcast days, or in the shade on a bright day. Your pup will appreciate not being in the sun!

A bright setting allows for a faster shutter speed – you’re going to need this to capture them because dogs are QUICK!

3) To Prop Or Not To Prop

What’s your dog’s personality? Are they a minimalist? An attention seeker? A fashionista of sorts? Props and fashion items can add an extra element of fun or whimsy, but they aren’t for everyone. Decide on a style that suits you both.

4) Composition

Try getting at dog’s level to get that perfect shot. Pay attention to the background and what’s going to be in your frame. Styling is important, so make sure the area is clean and photo-ready.

Switch it up – don’t stick with one distance from the subject. Get close to your woofie and get some shots of them exploring the space you are in. You may be surprised by which shots you love most. 

5) Tricks and Treats

Don’t be afraid of using a couple of treats to get your model’s attention.  This will help them to know that what’s going on is something positive – and will encourage them to behave.  A treat or toy is also great for guiding their eye line or or performing a trick that would look great captured on camera. 

Some dogs have great facial and physical reactions to keywords like “where’s grandma?!” , “walk”, or “outside”. Whatever works for each particular dog is unique but once you’ve found it, make sure you get that adorable head tilt on camera!

6) Have Patience

When working with dogs (and especially cats) you’re going to have to take a lot of photos and wait for those special moments. Let your dog get comfortable with the camera and the situation – but try not to get distracted and miss opportunities for some great shots. If on one day you don’t get any photos you love, don’t feel down. Try, try, again on another day when your model is in a different mood. 

7) Edit like a pro

We’ll be honest; we’ve had to get rid of a couple dog boners through the wonders of Photoshop before. For at home photographers, the filters and edit settings in apps like VSCO  and Instagram make simple lighting and cropping fixes a breeze.

Make sure if your dog is a dark color that you can see their eyes. But just like with photos of people, you don’t want be too heavy handed in the editing (ex. saturate too much – no dog is pumpkin orange!)

8) Have fun!

Make photo sessions fun for you and your pet and the photos will reflect that. Don’t take things too seriously; sometimes a silly shot captures you pet’s true personality anyway!