Photo Tips: Perfect Pet Portraits

Photograph by VTMonkeyBoy, My Shot

Your dog might be well trained to fetch—but to pose for a photo? Not so much. (And don’t even think about it for a cat!) Check out these tips to get awesome photographs of your furry friends.

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Learn from the pros.


Photograph by Breener, My Shot


You’re probably taller than most of the pets you’ll be shooting. So stoop, bend, kneel—whatever works for you—to get down to the same level as the animal you’re photographing.


Photograph by MusicMaster, My Shot

Make Noise


One expert recommends making meowing noises when photographing dogs. It gets their attention and can make their ears perk up. Try different sounds with different animals for supercute expressions.


Toys, Toys, Toys!


What puppy can resist a tasty-looking old shoe or chew toy? Offer up something to gnaw on and you’ll soon find your subject so busy playing that it won’t even notice you and your camera. Be sure to sit quietly. Pets are naturally curious, so if you move or make distracting noises they might think it's time for a new adventure. They'll pay more attention to you—and you won't be able to pay attention to your photo!



Photograph by Diamond Girl, My Shot


Photograph by Fortheloveofadog, My Shot

From Blah to Black

Animals with black coats can be hard to photograph. The light sensors in your camera might have trouble determining the correct exposure, resulting in a washed-out picture. Here’s a fix: Use your camera’s exposure-compensation setting to reduce the exposure by one f-stop.

Adopt a Pet (For an Hour!)


No pet? No problem. Bring your camera wherever you go and look for people with pets. Ask permission to photograph their pets—most owners will be happy to let you take a few shots.


Photograph by Jovial, My Shot


Photograph by Sparklyrainbow, My Shot

Go for the Zoom

Zeroing in on one cute feature of the pet can have a big impact. This works best when an animal is sleeping or resting quietly so you can really take the time to focus on an ear, paw, or other distinct feature. Try a zoom lens to get close to the cuteness without waking up your furry subject.

In Action

Face it, even if you make silly noises and use props, some dogs just won’t sit still! No problem—you’ll just have to switch gears. Increase the shutter speed on your camera to capture the action. If you’re shooting in automatic mode or using a camera phone, try to find a place with plenty of light. The sensors in the camera will adjust to give you the highest shutter speed.


Photograph by Jack


Photograph by FancyBird, My Shot


(Best Furry Friends)

Double the fun by photographing pets playing together during your shoot. The interaction between the animals can result in a photo—or a series of photos—that really tells a story.

Secrets revealed!

Get your best shot with tips from the pros.

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