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Pet photography overview: tips for beginners

pet photography

If you have a pet, you definitely take pictures of it for thousands of times every day. Or you may not, as well, have a pet but like small cuties and make memories of them with your camera. Whichever option is yours, if you’re here, you definitely need some useful tips on pet photography. Pets do not understand our language, and it is difficult to say something like “Could you please stand there for a moment and freeze!” Especially if we remember that nowadays, not only cats and dogs are domestic, but lizards, spiders, and snakes, and if the spider isn’t difficult to take a picture of, the situation with the more active animals is more complicated. Pets feel something like a radiation from phones and cameras, and sometimes behave aggressively or do not obey. Keep patient and don’t put your camera down. But first read on.

General tips

Pet photo


First and foremost, explore pet’s nature. Not a piece of advice for those who have their pet for several years but if the pet is yours, you know all its reactions, how to interest it, how to get it play or to perform on different commands as well you know its mimicry and moments that will be perfectly captured in a photo. You also know how to pacify it when it is highly active. So, before making a photo session with your four-legged friend, let your pet feels comfortable and don’t make it stress out.

2. Keep your pet’s interest

Pets are capricious and rather unpredictable. Here and now you think you can make a nice picture of it, and a second later it hears some car screeching down the street and is already dashing to scare it away. To avoid such a situation, keep your pet involved and do not let it get distracted, play with it or show some bright toys or balls, to make it look at one point for a calm portrait picture, or let it play with it for emotional one.

3. Assistance

Rather for you than for your pet. Ask someone to help you, do not do shooting alone. You may need a hand in distracting your four-legged companion while taking its photo in profile, for instance, or to make a wind so that its fur flutters. Besides, you need someone to look with distant eyes in order not to miss something, or your partner may give you some fresh idea for the next pic, or simply take away unnecessary objects from the background.

Tips for photo session

pet's eyes

1. Focus on eyes

You have to remember the important thing: the eyes of the pet must always be focused. No matter if  is it macro shooting, portrait photography, or the full-length photo. One more advice is to do a lot of photos in succession to practically try the focus.

2. Pet’s color

Pay attention to the fur color of your pet, if it is dark you have to make a photo in a bright location. If the fur has a light color, it’s better to take pictures inside, in shadow, or against the dark background since you risk having one tone pictures. Retouching is sometimes handy in this case but not always.

3. Light

Use natural light in order not to scare or annoy pet. If natural light is not enough, go for additional sources of light. Avoid using a flash as much as possible. This trick is not of great favor among the pets.

4. Check the background

Background is a great helper and what is pleasant when shooting pets, it has to be as simple as possible so that the attention does not shift from your centerfold to the background. Get also rid of any useless or odd items in the background.

5. Aperture for photo

Professional pooch photographers recommend to use manual mode for pictures and to open aperture (small f-number) to the full. You end up with a shallow depth, the object will be clear and the background blurry.

6. Retouch

Try to use Photoshop as less as possible in order not to change the color of your pet’s eyes or the wool. Take photos in raw format and use Lightroom for color and light correction.

7. Go down

And the last but not the least is to go down on your pet’s level. Try to keep the camera at  eye level of the animal for the pet feels more comfortable, and the picture to end better. Do not take photos of pets from above, especially if yours is small.

If you are sure that all this pet photography stuff is for you, you can always turn to professionals, and get great results.

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