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July 24, 2014

Tips and Tricks: How to Take Great Pet Photos

If you’re one of the tens of millions of pet owners out there, chances are that you love taking pictures of your dog, cat, or, if you’re like one of my friends, your Burmese python.

After all, how can you show how amazing and irresistible Fido and Fifi are, especially to far-flung friends and family?

Here are five tried-and-true photo-taking tips to capture your pet’s personality:

1. Get down to eye level.
Shooting your pet from above is rarely flattering. Instead, crouch down and get eye to eye with it. Your pet will love that you’re so close and may be more animated as a result.

In addition, focus on the animal’s eyes. Just like in humans, their eyes are the windows to their soul.


2. Keep photo sessions short and fun.
Photo-taking should be enjoyable for you and your pet. Since animals have short attention spans, don’t make them work for too long; it can be mentally exhausting.

Keep your photo sessions brief – perhaps even as short as five minutes – and reward them frequently with affection.


Enticing and rewarding your pet with a treat can also help it look towards the camera. This tip works with my shepherd mix, Beau, who loves peanut-butter biscuits almost more than life itself. That’s him in the photo to the left (captured with my Lumia Icon).

3. Be patient and offer treats.
Animals aren’t great at posing. After all, you can’t tell them to tilt their chins down and to the left! Watch for special moments so you can click the camera button quickly. If your dog or cat is in motion, use the smart-sequence mode for action shots.

4. Use natural light instead of flash.
Using flash can mean glowing red eyeballs and an unnatural and unflattering light. The flash on your smartphone could also startle your pet, making it uncomfortable. So if you’re indoors, pose your pet by the window to capture soft, bright natural light.

Or go outside!

Turn your pets toward the sun for the best light and so their eyes are bright. One caveat: If you’re taking photos at mid-day, when the sun is at its height, avoid harsh shadows by moving Fido to the shade for a more evenly lit shot.

One of the best times to take outdoor photos is during “golden hour” – the time shortly after sunrise and before sunset when light has that soft, pinkish glow that’s flattering to pets and people alike.

Check out the free Golden Hour app to find out when the “magic hour” is.

5. Get rid of clutter.
A plain background is best, so remove objects that distract from the photo subject. You can also tip your smartphone slightly downward or forward until the background is no longer in the frame.

Using these tips, show us your best photos of your pet!