Photographing Pets

Natural Lighting

Photograph outside when possible, the daylight shows right colors and lights in general. If its rainy outside when you want to photograph, take photos indoors and try to place your pet close to a window.

Some daylight will help you take a better photo. With dark animals it may be helpful or even necessary to use a little bit of flash, but keep the flash away from your pet's eyes.

Don't forget about the shadows visible in the composition, otherwise a promising picture can get ruined by a shadow.

photographed outside, in natural lighting
Malinois Blueberry photographed outside, in natural lighting.

Positioning

Try not to look down on your pet when taking photos, even though it might feel natural to do. It's important to always photograph from your pet's level to get a really nice photo.

This means; in order to take a photo of a cat or dog, you should crouch down to his eye level or place your pet on a table if thats easier for you. If the animal is a horse, stand up and photograph from there.

Imagine the final photograph through the camera lance before taking the shot, if it looks good then give it a go! Take the photo when your pet is looking slightly to the left or right of the camera.

Straight on shots or directly from the side can make the animal's face look flat. Don't leave your pet with only one eye, its always better to see both of them.

PositioningTervueren Raider photographed from his level.

Mirrors of The Soul

Always focus on the eyes as they are mirrors of the soul! The pet must have open eyes and look straight into the camera or slightly to the side. Don't use flash or if you really have to, then use it under an angle.

Only you really know when your pet's eyes are 'right' in the photograph. When you look at the photo you should feel your pet's mood from it. The eyes are 'telling' a story, and also about the moment when the photo was taken. That feeling will be transferred to the photograph.

eyes telling a story
Malinois Blueberry, a close-up with his eyes telling a story about who he is.

Sharpness

The most important thing in a photograph is that it's sharp. Make sure the pet's nose and eyes are in focus. If you have a very good camera try to focus on the eyes, then you will surely get it right. Black animals are harder to photograph because it's harder for the camera to focus with so much dark in one area.

a perfectly sharp photograph
Malinois Blueberry Swimming, a perfectly sharp photograph.

Be Patient

You don't need to wake up with the idea that you will capture the perfect moment that particular day. Taking photographs of animals takes time, patience and preparation.

You probably want to capture your pets personality and character which can be very hard if you pressure your pet with rushing into things. Use your pet's natural environment where the animal is feeling comfortable.

The pet needs to be comfortable in the situation at the moment you take the photos, so use treats or toys that your pet loves and carry your camera with you at all times.

A happy face is beautiful face! Keep taking photos and be creative about it, capture the moments. Look your pet in everyday life and find those wow moments when your animal looks great.

comfortable in a relaxed environment
Tervueren Raider feeling comfortable in a relaxed environment.