Pet Photography by SA Photographers

Pet Photography Beginners Guide – A need to know guide.

Pet photography beginners guide

Pet Photography is truly a treat! What more can any photographer ask for in a subject? Cute and Fluffy? – Count us in! Gone are the days that a pet is just a “pet” and many people worldwide have chosen being pet parents above having “human kids”. This love will translate in a lucrative business as pet parents want their pictures and memories of their furry friends to go and last far beyond their smartphones. 

A Quick Overview of our Pet Photography Review:

For Photographers who want to test out Pet Photography, practice, patience and creativity is key! Our little furry friends are adorable but rarely stick to the script!  Here are some top tips and tricks to take the bite out of pet photography!

Gain experience

Get in contact with a dog trainer or animal behaviourist.  Attending a few classes can help you gain perspective on how to approach and treat your furry clientele.  This experience will teach you how to direct your models in a way that many other photographers may be clueless about. This my friends, is what you call the “the upper hand”!

Get to know your subjects

Studying animal behaviour and learning how each pet will react in a new environment will help you on a shoot. Observational skills are an invaluable tool to any pet photographer. Do they like toys? Do they like treats? What motivates them? – These are all questions you need to ask when your little furry friend walks in.  Keep an eye on them for a minute or two and let them get use to their surroundings rather than jumping right into the shoot.


Each cat or dog will be unique. Similar to children, no personality type will be the same. For example, some dogs may love playing with a ball whereas others may have no interest in toys at all.  Some top tips to gain your paw pals attention is making noises – this can be a whistle or a squeaky toy.  Additionally, some snacks will work a treat!

Create a comfortable atmosphere

The more at ease a pet feels, the better your chances will be to get a great shot. Keep in mind that cats may take much longer than dogs to become comfortable on a shoot as they are far more independent in the home.  Dogs are more than happy to spend most of their time with their human and will gladly participate in a range of activities.  Practice patience and give your subject the needed time to adjust. This will allow you to get some quality photos, but don’t push it. Not all animals will respond well to a photoshoot experience and stressing them out will not accomplish anything.

Use a fast shutter speed

Dogs are like toddlers – Non-stop! Knowing your equipment really well is crucial when it comes to capturing them on “film”.” Pets will never sit as still as human subjects for a portrait, so pet photography should be seen as capturing action shots. By using a faster shutter speed, you will be able to freeze motion better in order to get quality shots before the dog, cat or any other animal for that fact needs to sneeze, scratch or stretch.

Light it Up

Photographing pets of differing fur colours, can get slightly more complicated as Fur absorbs light differently from human skin. Always consider the time of day, the location and amount of shade based on your furry friends coat.  Something very important to keep in mind is that a strobe flash can affect previously abused pets. Many pets are rescued and may have PTSD.

Adjust and Edit

Editing will help you to adjust and pop different elements of your pet photos —for example, brighten a dog’s eyes against black fur. You will also be able to remove unwanted elements from a photo, like fur left on a chair.  Top tip – Photoshop can be used  to remove leashes which may be used to keep a playful puppy in one place.

In Conclusion

Pet photography will require photographers  to adapt to many different conditions. This includes learning animal behavior and tackling lighting challenges. Practicing patience will put you on your  way to high-quality animal images.

One Comment

  1. Ricco

    Love it Marlie!☝️👌🙏

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