Pet Photography Tips: The Ultimate Guide

Last Updated on January 23, 2022

Pet Photography Tips

When photographing dogs and cats, it is essential to remain patient and calm during the shoot. Minimizing distractions and using toys to direct the pet’s attention are great tricks to capture great images.

12 Ultimate Pet Photography Tips:

  • Get to know the dog first
  • Show them your camera
  • Have lots of treats available (to make friends and bribe)
  • Do some grooming Brush Eye
  • Take off tags, harness, collar if desired
  • Use a leash if necessary
  • Focus on Eyes
  • Zoom In
  • Pay attention to aperture and focus points
  • Try both posed and natural shots
  • Squeaky toys work great
  • Honey on the nose to get them to lick it.


We have some online courses where you can learn to take beautiful photos of your pet. Check it out!!!

Camera Phone Pet Tips

In the camera settings menu (if your camera phone has one), set it to the highest native picture resolution and quality if you want the best possible results. The highest resolution shown is usually the native resolution, and the manual should note if it is not.

If your camera has a slot for external memory, such as a micro SD card, buy a card and set the camera to record to the external card.

Then purchase a card reader, or use the one built into your computer if you have one (an SD card adapter is usually included with every micro SD card). It will allow for much faster transfer speeds and will avoid potential data charges from your cell carrier.

Turn off the camera phone’s internal ash (most of them do a poor job) and go outside during the day to shoot, turn the lights on in your home, or use continuous lightings such as a lamp or diffused LED light for better overall results.

Pet Photography Tips

DSLR Camera Pet Photography

Use Aperture Priority Mode or Manual Mode to control the depth of field(symbol A or AV). Keep in mind that if you set the aperture to a level that causes the shutter to adjust to a very slow speed, your images may be blurred, and that can lead to out-of-focus puppies and kittens.

To remedy this, you can add more light, set your ISO to a higher level, or open the aperture to a wider f-stop.

Shutter Priority Mode

It is another powerful shooting mode. It allows you to keep the shutter speed at one specific value, and as you change the shutter speed, the aperture will adjust automatically based on what the meter reads in the scene.

The symbol for it is usually S or Tv, depending on the camera model.

The advantage of this mode is that it can help you keep your images sharp, which is essential when photographing active pets, children, and others. Try setting the shutter speed to between 1125 sec and 1500 sec to begin.

If you choose too fast shutter speed, and if your camera can’t set the aperture wide enough to expose the scene properly, everything will be too dark. In that case, add light, increase the ISO, or lower the shutter speed until your photo is exposed correctly.

Pet Photography Tips

Panasonic DC-GH5, Focal Length 43.0mm, Aperture ƒ/1.2, Shutter Speed 1/800s, ISO 400


This option found primarily on DSLR Mode – Al Servo AF. This mode allows you to track a moving subject, like a running dog about to leap to catch a Frisbee or other flying object.

Follow the dog by pressing the shutter button halfway until you are ready to take the shot (or multiple shots). Al Servo AF mode will keep changing the focus point for you until you take your finger off the shutter release.

Eye to Eye

You can get great photos of your dog or cat (or a group of pets) by sitting on a low chair or staircase step and looking directly into their eyes, or by having them sit on a chair or table to raise them up to a level that allows you to take their photo straight on without having to crawl around on the floor.

It also helps to have someone else entice your pets from behind the camera with toys or noisemakers, or by calling their name.

Pet Photography Tips

Canon EOS 6D, Focal Length 50.0mm, Aperture ƒ/2.0, Shutter Speed 1/250s, ISO 800

Make Your Pet a Hero

To create what is known as a “hero shot” (so named because it often makes the subject look more majestic), all you need to do is lower your perspective so that you are a bit lower than the pet’s eye level (how low will depend on the pet, and experimentation is key). Like in the previous tip, toys and noisemakers work well to help create different poses.

Photography your pet from back

This perspective often gives a cinematic look that shows the viewer what the subject is seeing. You can work this approach from wide to a close-up view.

Pet Photography Tips

Go for the Overhead View

By photographing your Pet from a slightly overhead angle than normal, you can create some really dramatic looks.

Snail’s Eye View

By getting LOW on the ground and shooting up towards your subjects, you can create some really dramatic photos. If you outside bring some plastic bags to kneel or lie on while taking these types of pictures.

Shoot Early or Late in the Day for more Dramatic Light

Someone named the period just before sunrise and just after sunset the “golden hour”(“magic hour”), and it was for a good reason. The light that one finds in most areas is lovely at those times, and the nice light usually continues for a few hours after sunrise and before sunset.

Pet Photography

The Color Temperature

At those times it is generally warmer than at midday, which produces a warm tone when your camera is set to daylight white balance mode.

Also, at those times, the sun’s rays tend to produce a softer light, and the sun casts long shadows since it is not as high in the sky.

There is also much less of a chance of getting “raccoon eyes,” which can occur when the sun is high in the sky because of the way the shadows fall just under the eyes.

Create Pet Silhouettes

Silhouettes in photos can be very captivating and dramatic. If your main light is coming from a window, and that light is much brighter than the light falling on your pet from the front, you can easily create a silhouetted image.

Pet Photography Tips

FUJIFILM X-T2, Focal Length 35.0mm, Aperture ƒ/2.8, Shutter Speed 1/5800s, ISO 250

Sunglasses can turn any Pet into an instant star, and the look can be hilarious.
Photograph your Dog/Cat Chewing on something. Capture Pets in and around Water.

Last Tip. Don’t Worry About Looking Perfect. Take Pictures of “Real Life”.

Michael Gabriel writes “Pet Photography Introduction” which is full of tips and tricks. Check it Out!

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Learn Pet Photography – Online Classes

9 Photography Classes from CreativeLive, KelbyOne, Udemy, and from the famous Pet Photographers.

  1. Smartphone Photography for Pet Lovers
  2. Animal Photography
  3. Pets and People Photography
  4. Posing For Puppies
  5. How to Photograph Pets in the Studio
  6. Pet Photography Masterclass
  7. Dog Photography: Overcoming Challenging Situations
  8. The Secrets to Capturing the Best Dog Photos Ever Taken
  9. Pet Photography 


    • Daniel Popa