Photographing pets: Let their heart melt A guide to successful pet photography


Pet photography is a fun and increasingly popular niche as people get to show off their companion’s personality on camera. Whether it’s a personal memento they want to create or to share with their online following, there is a growing market for pet photography. Whether you’re a pet owner or a photographer who loves animals, here are our tips and tricks to help your furry best friend’s personality shine in photographs and melt the hearts of their admirers.


Know the pet

Whether it’s your pet or someone else’s pet, it’s important to know their temperament and habits to have a realistic expectation for the outcome of the shoot. If your pet is a calm, docile animal, or extremely well-trained, they’re the perfect candidate for portrait photography – a more excitable companion is unlikely to sit still for a portrait. If your pet is an energetic bundle of joy, then you should photograph them in a candid style or consider getting some action shots.  


Photographying pets



Portraits express the personality of the subject, so it’s a wonderful genre of photography to use as you can show off their unique persona whether your pet is a dignified old soul or a mischievous troublemaker. With portraits be sure to capture your pet’s expressions as this creates an effortlessly charming photograph. Portrait photography is also a fun way to exercise your artistic prowess. For example, photographing your cat in a portrait style and focusing on your favourite features, such as their paws and whiskers can produce a beautiful picture. 

Action shots

Action shots are perfect if you have a dog with boundless energy. It’s possible to produce a fantastic photograph of them running like the wind. With actions shots, it’s essential that you have a fast shutter speed to capture them in motion. A wired remote shutter release may also come in handy as it allows you to take the photo more quickly without having to release the shutter manually. Taking photographs in burst mode is also useful when it comes to action shots as you can take a series of photos quickly which will capture your pet in action. Using continuous shooting in semi-automatic mode can be useful.

With action shots, it’s also pertinent to pay attention to the composition of the photograph – having more negative space in the background helps to create a sense of motion as it shows your pet in the wider context of the scene. A closer shot won’t necessarily communicate to the viewer the speed at which they’re moving, so always go wider. 


    • DSLR camera: We recommend using a DSLR as it has a high ISO range and you can use lenses interchangeably which is great for pet photography.
    • Macro lens: A macro lens is excellent for shooting highly detailed photographs, which is apt for pet photography so you can capture all the enchanting details of your pet such as their bright eyes and glossy coat.
    • Telephoto lens: A telephoto lens is indispensable when it comes to pet photography. It allows you to shoot from a distance which is helpful for candid photography when your pet is doing its own thing and you don’t want to interfere. It also reduces distortion and provides a shallow depth of field.
    • Prime lens: A prime lens offers a sharp quality and a wide aperture for better focus which may be something to consider when it comes to pet photography. However, prime lenses have a fixed focal length which may inconvenient.
    • Wide-angle lens: A wide-angle lens is great for capturing your pet in the wider context of a scene. If your dog is frolicking in a flower-filled meadow, you’re going to want to capture that scenery. Wide-angle lenses will allow you to capture the wider shot.
    • External flash: Shooting outdoors is great as you have an abundance of natural light, but if you’re shooting indoors you may want to consider using an external flash to shoot your pets in better lighting.
    • Diffuser: A diffuser can also come in handy alongside your flash to help you manipulate the light so it has a softer quality on camera.


As mentioned, shooting outdoors is worthwhile as not only will your furry friend have fun in nature, but you also have an abundance of natural light. If you’re shooting in low-light conditions, a wide aperture can be useful. Increasing the ISO to remedy the exposure will also be beneficial in this scenario. If you’re shooting indoors, photographing your pet near a window offers a good source of natural light. If that’s inconvenient, using an external flash and diffuser is helpful. There are other great professional lighting alternatives if you’re looking to invest in your pet photography. 

Smartphone pet photography

Due to amazing advances in technology, so many people have access to great cameras on their phones. Smartphone photography can be a great medium for photographing your pets. You can even use photo editing apps like VSCO to make your pet photos look even more creative.

Clean your background

Whether you’re taking a portrait, a candid photo, or an action shot, it’s important to have a clean background. Your pet is the star of the show so you want to get rid of any clutter which distracts the viewer from the focus of the image: your pet. Give the area a quick-tidy up before the session. If you’re shooting in a candid, lifestyle manner of photography, you don’t necessarily want the space to look sterile but contemplate whether all the items in the room add context to the image. 

Pet photography


It can be especially fun to experiment with angles with pet photography. One of our pro-tips for producing a captivating shot is to get down to your pet’s level. By getting low to the ground and shooting at the animal’s eye level you show life from your pet’s point of view, which is far more interesting than shooting them from above. 

Move slowly

Because animals are unpredictable, try not to make too many sudden movements. By moving quickly you can startle the pet into moving and ruin the shot. Get used to moving at a slower pace as not to stimulate the pet too much. 

Have fun

Finally, have fun! As well as getting some good snapshots, you also want it to be an enjoyable experience for you and your pet. You can use toys to keep your friend entertained, and you should certainly bring plenty of treats to your photo session as your pet deserves some form of compensation for being your fabulous model!



We hope you found our pet photography guide informative. If you require a pet photographer book with Splento today, for a reliable, on-demand photographer at a fixed, affordable rate. If you have any questions be sure to contact a member of the Splento team


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