5 Tips to Get the Best Pet Photos

| By  Madisen Garcia |

We’ve all been there — you want to get some good shots of your pet, so you break out your camera and start shooting.

The only problem is that it just won’t sit still! Every squirrel, lizard, leaf, ant and even its own tale distracts it. Whatever photos you do get are blurry, too dark or just don’t look the way you imagined.

Don’t worry! It is possible to get good photos of your fur babies, no matter what equipment you have, or how long their attention span is. I’ve gathered together 5 simple steps anyone can use to take better photos of their furry pals:

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  1. Figure out your lighting and location.

Natural lighting is usually best, so grab your camera and head outside. Avoid harsh light, such as in the middle of the day when the sun is right above your subject. The best times to shoot outdoors are early in the morning or later in the day when the sun is low. If you can’t go outside for any reason, try shooting near a window where lots of natural light is shining in. If you must use flash, test it out around your dog first, as it may be unsettling for some.


It’s also important to shoot where your dog is most happy and comfortable, whether it’s in the backyard or lounging on the couch. Not only will they be more cooperative, but you’ll also capture a part of they’re personality, making it a better shot all around.

2. Know your equipment.

You don’t need a $2,000 camera to take a decent photo. (Although it helps.) Even just using a smartphone can capture surprisingly good images.  What’s most important is knowing how to use your camera or phone. Check to see if you can shoot in HDR, and learn how to adjust your exposure, especially when you’re shooting in darker settings. These will help when you’re faced with difficult lighting situations.

3. Learn how to get your pet’s attention.

Pets are very easily distracted, so it’s your job to find out what distracts them the most and use it to your advantage! Is your pal treat motivated? Hold up something really good, like a piece of cheese, above the camera and you’re sure to get a good shot. If treats aren’t their thing, then try a favorite toy. I find that a bright yellow squeaky tennis ball will make almost any dog look you, even for just a few seconds.


If all else fails, try using a word that you know will get their attention, such as “walk!” or “treat!” Just be sure to follow through with your promise or your dog might lose trust in you, making it even more difficult to get good pictures in the future.

4. Take plenty of shots from different perspectives.

The more pictures you take, the more likely you’ll get one you like. So get creative! Take photos from above, behind, below, in front! I find that getting low to the ground and shooting right at your pet’s eye level produces the best pictures. Capture different features, whether it be their adorable little paws or floppy ears.

5. Be patient and have fun!

In the end, your pet will never do exactly what you want. Having patience is probably the most important tip I can give. Try not to get frustrated and never force them to pose. Instead, be ready for when that perfect shot arrives, then capture it! While you’ve got the camera out, give them treats, play with them, and make taking photos fun. Hopefully, then, the next time you whip out your camera, they’ll get excited!

With these five steps, you’ll be sure to get some fantastic photos of your furry pal!

Madisen Garcia is a Clermont-based photographer specializing in pet photography via Madisen Garcia Photography. Follow her on Instagram at @madisenamberphoto.

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