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7 tips for great pet photography

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My phone is full of failed selfie sessions with our dogs. If I’m lucky I’ll find one photo where Charlie (our giant “medium-sized” rescue pup) isn’t jumping my toddler over or biting our basset, Harvey’s, ears in a blurry haze.

In an effort to make some art for our walls from photos of our beloved pets I wanted to gather a few tips for taking usable photos of them. And, unless you are a pro photographer, I’m sure you could use these too. Here are seven of the best:

#1 Choose a setting or backdrop that matches your pet’s character and personality

If your dog is happiest when having a bath or being taken for a walk, consider photographing these scenarios. The same goes for your lazy cat that loves his treats. Capture him while he is settling down for a nap or stretching out in his favourite sunny spot with a full belly.

Being ready to capture the perfect moment of your pet doing what he or she loves will make for a beautiful photo with a lot less stress involved.

#2 Get up close and personal with your petClose up dog photography

When choosing the location, opt for a place in which your pet will feel comfortable. Also keep in mind that the location and eventual background of the photo is important. A busy park with lots of other animals and people enjoying the sunshine will distract from your pet and may make it difficult to gain your pet’s attention to even get a good picture.

Once you’ve chosen the right location you are one step closer to getting that perfect shot. To really capture the soul of your animal, get close and focus. If your animal is moving around too much use a zoom lens to take some great photos of him/her doing whatever it is they love most.

#3 Enter your pet’s world

Getting down to a level where you can look your pet in the eyes not only eliminates that unwanted “human perspective” but also leaves you with results that capture what life looks like from your furry friend’s perspective.

#4 Use a fast shutter speedCat jumping

To get some great action shots of your pet running and playing get confident with your camera. Use your camera in full manual mode if you’re sure that you will get the mix between aperture and shutter right; alternatively start by using “sports mode” while you’re still learning the ins and outs of working your camera.

For a really fast mover, or to get a cool series of photos, use the continuous mode – this is even an option with most smartphones.

#5 Make it a family affair

One of the best ways to get really fantastic photos of your furry loved ones is to include the humans that love them too. Years from now you will look back at the photos of your loved one holding or playing with a beloved pet and it will bring back so many happy memories and love.

#6 Be the pet-parazzi for a day

As great as a posed-for planned shot can look, it is likely that capturing your pet doing his or her thing when comfortable and in their natural environment will result in even better images.

#7 Have fun!Girl laughing with dog

This ties in with tip #1 – images captured of your pet having fun will evoke such happy memories when looking at it after the fact. Taking some pictures of your dog playing with your kids will make for a happy dog and it will show on the photos. Years later when you look back you will fondly remember the giggling and excited barking that went on while the shot was taken.

As mentioned, I plan on using these tips to take some photos of Harvey and Charlie that we can use for some fantastic wall art in our home. Follow along for the how-to on making silhouette art using photos of your pet which will (hopefully, fingers crossed) feature my successful results!


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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