How to Take the Best Photo of Your Pets – 4 Tips

Posted by Benjamin Strusnik on

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Abigail Pfriem

Struggling to get the perfect photo of your beloved pet? You aren't alone!
Most pet owners can agree it's easy to fill the camera roll with a million and one snapshots. However, getting the perfect one isn't always as easy. We're sharing 4 tips on how to take the best photo of your pet.

Pets are and have been humans’ greatest companions since the beginning of time. Their cuteness and companionship makes it hard (for a lot of us!) to resist snapping away at our furry family. However, it's not as often you end up with a great shot, especially for pets that are a little more camera shy or over-exuberant.

Taking a quality picture of your pet is part luck and part skill. Either way, these simple tips on how to take the best photo of your pet will help you snap a great shot to share, or turn into a beautiful piece of custom artwork with Paintru artists.

4 Tips: How to take the best photo of your pet

Tip 1. At Attention, Please!

Pets can be a handful but if you're patient and have plenty of treats on hand you'll be able to take some great pics whether or not your pet is trained. Wait until your pet gets out their energy before you start snapping away unless you only want action shots. If you’re going outside your home for a shoot, for example, take your pup on a walk first. 

For horses - having something like a mint or wrapped can get a quick ear perk for the perfect shot. Holding a treat or wrapper around knee-height can encourage them to stand a little prettier and arch their neck with ears at attention.

For dogs - Most dogs are food motivated making treats necessary to, and effective in, capturing attention. However, this can also cause the common ""dog nose shot"" dog owners know all too well. If you're having a hard time getting your dog to pay attention but want to avoid the treat grab, try picking up a small object like a leaf that will interest for a moment without causing them to immediately stick their nose up to the camera.

For cats- Felines can be finicky and it seems they're always looking oh so ""over it"" just as you snap the shot. Try turning your attention away (or pretending to turn away) from your cat. Fold a blanket, maybe open a window or do something to direct their attention back to you and just as they perk up, snap a shot.

Planning is great, but don’t lock in so much that you don’t give spontaneity a chance. Some of the best shots are spontaneous ones.

Tip 2. Portrait Mode Via IOS

Portrait mode adjusts the lighting around your subject to add different effects. For some cameras, that means a setting of f/2.8. For others, it could be as low as f/1.4.

If you are taking pictures in portrait mode, you’ll need to get close to your pet while it’s a few feet away from whatever the background may be. The farther the pet is from the background, the blurrier that background will be. Focus the camera, make sure your furry friend is sitting and still (if not use a treat for this step) and snap your shot. Take the photo at your pet's eye level for the best angles.

Perfecting Pet PhotographyCapture Stunning Pet Photos

Paintru equine masterpiece based on a portrait mode photo

Tip 3. Lighting, Location and Time of Day

No matter what your skill level may be, a good photo, like any other type of photography, depends on your lighting.

Outdoor lighting is unexpected but preferred if you don’t have your own indoor studio setup. Try taking a photo of your pet in a shaded spot, without flash. Flash distorts the image and could cause the fur to appear too shiny in a picture. 

If possible, try to wait until right before sunrise or sundown to take an outside photo of your pet. Your photo will turn out sharper in softer lighting.

Tip 4. Shutter Speed

Take your time and enjoy the session, try different approaches, angles and compositions. If you feel up for the challenge try changing your shutter speed.

Shutter speed can create a lot of different effects, depending on the setting. It can make a running dog or a leaping cat appear razor sharp. Or, it can give the illusion of motion, by making the subject a bit blurry. It can also make the main object look sharp while the surrounding environment appears blurred.

Learn more about our incredible pet portraits >

A few of our favorite pet portraits, hand-painted by Paintru artists

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Try out these tips and upload your pet's photo today->