Making Your Pet Photos Bark and Purr

Posted on Jul 23 2020 in Pets
Person taking a photo of their pet.

Nothing garners attention on social media these days like cute critter photos. The photos you make and share of your dog or cat can be just as memorable as the photos you see in magazines or on Instagram. But rarely do they just “happen.” Here are some tips to keep in mind to make your “snap shots” of Fido and Fluffy bark and purr like the planned professional shots we see.

Focus on the eyes

The eyes are the most important thing in any type of portrait photography. As they say, “The eyes are the window of the soul.” That includes those of pets. Keep those eyes crystal clear and razor sharp.

And while you’re focusing on your pet’s eyes, try to get it to focus its attention on something that turns its eyes slightly your way. Focus, then snap your fingers or hold out a toy, then shoot the image before it moves its body.

Use natural or available light

If possible, use natural light. Natural light, especially in the morning or late afternoon, is soft light that can fill their eyes and define their furry head against their body. If you cannot go outside, try shooting images in the light coming through the glass of a storm door or window. 

Shoot them like you like them

If you’re like most indoor pet owners, you probably constantly snuggle with them watching TV. You let them lick your face or sleep on your head. So, when shooting photos of them, don’t act as if they suddenly have “dog germs!” or the mange.

Get in close, just as you would when shooting photos of children. Get down on their eye level. Sit on the floor or lay on your belly if you have to.

Keep on shooting

Keep your cell phone handy because sometimes the first shot is the only shot you’ll get in capturing a fleeting moment of frisky furry joy. But, after that first shot, if the pet’s still cooperative, keep working at it. Don’t pause to examine what you’ve shot, or you’ll miss the next for sure. Try different views and compositions. Worry about the results later. The number of digital photos you can shoot is limited only by the few seconds you take later on to delete shots you don’t like.

So, if your pet is in a pose you love, check the light, the focus, the framing, move in close and keep shooting until you feel you have captured the decisive moment … or until your pet gets bored and starts grooming itself or sticks its nose into your lens wondering what the heck you’re doing.