Shelter and Rescue Resources
8 Pet Photography Tips for Taking Terrific Pet Pictures
March 14, 2023
How do I take good pictures of my dog or cat on my phone? You don’t have to go to school for photography or have a fancy, expensive camera to capture beautiful pictures of your pet. Many smartphones have excellent cameras, making it possible for nearly anyone to take great snapshots. Pete Laskie is the Sr. Manager of Creative for Revival Animal Health and shares some simple pet photography tips so you can impress your friends with fantastic photos of your pet.
What is the Best Lighting for Pet Portraits
If possible, natural outdoor lighting is the best when it comes to pet photography lighting. But before taking your pet outside, make sure you have steps in place to keep your pet safe. Once outside pay attention to the position of the sun. The sun is a great natural light, but it can also make your subject look like a dark shadow. If you start taking pictures and look at them and realize your subject looks dark, try switching places to make the sun work for you. If outdoor lighting isn’t possible, make sure your pet is in a well-lit room but not right in front of a bright window, otherwise your pet might look like a black shadow. “I would avoid bright sunny days where the shadows are too harsh. Cloudy days are great, where the sunlight gets diffused by the clouds and softens the light. Use a tall tree to diffuse light but not to where it really casts a shadow on the animal. Or use the light from a large window. Don’t shoot towards the window – shoot with the light more behind you where it lights the pet you are taking a picture of,” Pete says.
What is the Best Background for Pet Photography
You want your photo to highlight your awesome dog… not the items around them. Before snapping the photo take a quick glance around the area where your pet will be photographed and make sure there isn’t clutter or anything else you don’t want to appear in the picture. Make sure the background isn’t too distracting or busy or colorful where it takes away from the dog. Let your pet be the star.
Make sure to focus on the main subject of the photo. Usually it’s good to make sure the eyes are in focus, especially if you are in tight on your cat’s head. Sometimes if you are in tight, the focus might tend to be on the nose, as that is closer to you. This can cause the cat’s eyes to be blurry.
Still vs. Action Shot
Capturing a good, clear action shot is tricky, so if possible try to have your subject hold still. This will eliminate blurry or out-of-focus pictures. Trust us, we understand that getting a puppy to hold still can sometimes be tricky. One trick we’ve used is to give the pup a treat to catch their attention while we quickly snap a shot or two.
Alignment When Photographing Pets
Your dog is the focus of this picture so make sure he or she is the main subject in the picture. A good rule of thumb, before taking the picture, imagine drawing an imaginary “X” across your camera screen. The center of the “X” should be the main part of your dog that you are trying to capture. For example, if it’s a picture of your dog’s head, their nose should be near the center of the X. If it’s a full body shot you’re going for, your dog’s belly should be at the center of the picture.
Another tip when photographing pets is to get down on your dog or cat’s level instead of just aiming down on them. We are so used to looking down on them so change up your angle. Lay on the floor in front of them and experiment with different height levels. It will make for a more interesting picture.
Take Multiple Shots
Most modern digital cameras allow us the ability to instantly look at the picture we took. So don’t be afraid to snap three or four of the same shot right in a row, then go back immediately and take a look at what the picture looks like. Even a micro-second between shots can make the difference between a blurry picture and a brilliant one.
Along the lines of tip number six, once you’ve taken the picture go back right away and take a look at what it looks like. Take a close look to see if the shot is in focus. Maybe after you look at the picture you realize there is something in the background that you’d rather not have the whole world see. Reviewing the photo will also allow you to make sure the lighting is okay. You don’t want your pet to look too dark or too bright. Then if you realize the picture could be better, you can easily snap a few more, while you and your pet are in “photo shoot mode.”
Only Share the Best
If you’ve followed tip number six and took multiple shots, pick the top one or two to share on Facebook or Instagram. (Use #RevivalPets) Posting on social media is a great way to get feedback from your friends, fans and followers.
Now that you have the cat and dog photography tips to capture great pictures of your pet, we want to see your photos! Use #RevivalPets when posting on social media and be sure to like and follow Revival on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube!
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Written by: Shelley Hexom
Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.