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How to take great pictures of pets - without breaking the bank!

Posted by Elijah Wiegmann on
How to take great pictures of pets - without breaking the bank!

How to take great pictures of pets - without breaking the bank!

9 tips to take photos of your dog like a professional.


Everyone wants to take great pictures of pets so they can remember the big moments from a brief but spectacular time spent together.

But not everyone can afford professional photo shoots or an expensive camera, so here are some tips on how to capture great photos of your pet with whatever camera you have, smartphone, digital, whatever!

Find the right setting

Scout your location


Whether you want to take some photos of your dog at home or at a park, make sure you pick a location where your dog will be comfortable. If the park is a new place, take your dog there a few times before you’d like to take photos to let them familiarize themselves with the location. Bringing your dog to a brand new location to take photos can be unpredictable, depending on your dog. They may feel anxious or nervous about being unfamiliar with the area, which may result in an uncooperative dog. 

You may instead want to plan to take your dog’s photo at home. Where they’re familiar, they’ll be more comfortable and easier to work with for the perfect shot. They’ll feel less inclined to spend their time exploring new territory. 

Consider your background

Find a background that makes your pup stand out

No matter where you go to take pictures of pets, make sure you keep in mind what the background looks like. Keep the background as simple and uncluttered as possible. A cluttered background will distract from the photo. With a clear and simple background, your pup should contrast and really pop in the photo. 

Use natural lighting for the best pictures of pets

The best lighting is natural lighting

The best lighting you can use to take your photos from looking average to next level is natural lighting. The best lighting to photograph with outside is light but overcast. Direct sunlight can be very harsh in photos and create unflattering shadows. Some of the best times to go outside for a picture are during golden hour, the hour after the sun rises and the hour before the sun sets. Golden hour provides a beautiful warm light for your subject.

If you’re taking pictures inside, avoid using flash. Natural lighting is still the best option here. Find a room with a neutral background and lots of natural lighting from windows to get the best shot. 

Change your angle 

Find a new perspective

If you take a photo of your dog by standing above them, chances are your picture will turn out just like any other picture you’ve taken of your dog. Instead, find a new angle. Try getting eye-level with your dog to gain a new perspective. This angle will show off a side of your pet that most people don’t get to see. Try getting even closer to your pet to show off small details about your pet that only you may notice. From their eyes, to their whiskers, to their nose, there are so many details about your pet that you can capture. 

Use treats or toys to get attention when taking pictures of pets

Keep your pet’s treats on hand

One of the hardest things about photographing pets is getting their attention and getting them to sit still enough to get a good picture. If your commands don’t work in the moment, don’t fret! Your dog will likely be coaxed into a good photo with the promise of treats or a toy. When trying to get a good photo, keep your dog’s favorite toys or treats on hand to grab their attention. You may want to enlist help so someone can hold the toy or treat and you can keep your focus on snapping a good photo. 

Take lots of pictures

The more photos, the better

Unless you’re a professional photographer or just extremely lucky, you likely won’t get a perfect photo on your first try. Expect to take lots of pictures so you can sift through and find the right one. Use your camera’s built in burst option to take lots of photos in an instant. Just make sure whatever camera you’re using is charged and there’s lots of space to save photos. You can delete the ones you don’t like later.

Reward your pet

Treat your dog for good behavior

After getting their attention and taking photos for a while, be sure to reward them for their cooperation. Take breaks when you feel your dog is getting frustrated or uncooperative. Adding in play time will put them in a better mood and you’ll have better luck capturing a dog portrait you can enjoy for years to come!  

Adjust your photos

Editing makes a world of difference

Taking the time to adjust your photos can take your photo from average to professional-looking in no time. Whether you choose to use editing options on your camera or you have an app or website you prefer to use, take a little bit of time to adjust the levels on your photo to find the right balance. Find what exposure, highlights, and brightness levels look best. Too much editing can make a photo look distorted, so keep in mind how much of the photo you’re adjusting. 

Have patience when taking pictures of pets

Take frequent breaks

Dogs are not the easiest subjects to work with when it comes to photography. Take breaks to breathe and relax if things aren’t going quite the way you expected. Have patience and let your dog be themselves. The picture-perfect shot you might have in your head may not work out, but if you put in the effort of taking a good photo of your dog, you’ll get a shot that truly shows off your dog’s personality. 

Any dog owner would want to have a photo of their pet that perfectly showcases their dog’s personality. While professional photography may be expensive, that shouldn’t stop you from trying to capture photos yourself. With these tips and tricks, you should be able to take pictures of pets you will cherish forever. 

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