Pet Photography Tips & Tricks

As fun as it may look like, pet photography can be a tough nut to crack. Apart from having the appropriate equipment and skill, it takes a bit more of patience and genuine care for your models. Don’t worry! We are here to provide you with special tips and ideas on how to create the best pet photo shooting atmosphere. Dealing with the technical side of the story is equally important, so make sure you stop our useful camera settings and tricks. Let’s get started!

Pet Photography Tips for a Relaxed Photo Shooting

Pets are like little kids. They need careful attention and a nice, clean environment. What we recommend is choose a location they like, either indoor or outdoor and photograph them in familiar environment. The context of your photo shooting is as important as your model. As long as you make sure your pet feels comfortable, you can achieve great results.

Treat to Trick!

One of the best tricks for a successful pet photo shooting is to treat your pet. Think of the rewards he enjoys the most and you cannot possibly go wrong with it. Not only that your dog will love you (if it’s a cat it will love you for a minute, maybe), but you will also take some great shots. You can use their favorite food or toys as props as well.

Have Some Fun!

Now that you have created a relaxed atmosphere you can have some fun! Whether you have a lazy cat, a playful dog or a noisy parrot, be creative and experiment with different props and accessories.

Here are some funny must-have pet photography props:

  • A Washing Machine (be careful with that!)

pet photography using a washing machine as a prop

  • A Small Boat (who would have thought boats are for cats?)

pet photography using a small boat as a prop

  • Books and Glasses (for a smart, hipsterish look)

pet photography using books and glasses as props

  • A Fashionable Scarf and Flowers (why not?)

fashionable scarf for pet photography

  • A Crown (of course!)

crown for pet photography

Technical Pet Photography Tips

Shoot in Natural Light

Shooting in natural light is essential for all photography niches. When it comes to photographing your pet, all you can ask for is a nice, bright yet diffused morning light. If you choose to shoot indoors, try to photograph your model as close to the window as possible.

I wouldn’t recommend to use the flash only if it is absolutely necessary. It can be very annoying for your pet and the results can be disastrous.

Best Lenses for Pet Photography

Wide angle lenses should be your first choice when photographing your pet. Don’t be surprised if by using wider angle lenses you will capture pet photographs with a twist. Play with different angles and perspectives for more imaginative shots. Either you photograph them from their eye level, from the above or from below, these kind of lenses will provide your pictures with a broader perspective and some interesting effects.

Close-up Portraits

The eyes of your pet can say more than thousands words (if only they could speak!). That is why some of the best pet photographs you can take are close-up portraits.

Whether you want them to be dramatic or hilarious, pet portraits are very expressive and eye-catching. You know what the best thing is with close-up pet portraits? There are no props needed.

Here’s what you should do in order to get sharp close-up photos of your pet

  • Use manual focus on your camera and make sure you highlight their eyes.
  • Focus on your model while creating a blurry effect for the background. Set a wide aperture (f/2.8 should do the job), get close to your pet and shoot!

Outdoor Pet Photography Tips

  • Photograph Your Pet in Motion

Want to capture your pet enjoying some time outdoors? Choose a fine, sunny day, set your digital camera to shutter speed priority mode and to continuous focus and see how it goes.

  • Freeze the Moment!

Pets can be very playful which makes pet photography even more challenging. That is why a good DSLR and some patience are priceless. Set your camera on shutter speed mode, or if you feel confident enough operate in manual mode by setting a fast shutter speed and adjusting the aperture accordingly. All you need to do is anticipate a great moment for your shot and capture some joy!

Image Sources: Pinterest

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star3

Animals are the most genuine models a photographer could ever dream of. You know when you have problems relaxing and someone just comes out of the blue whispering: Just be. Nothing more. It’s that easy. Well it seems that animals are the absolute masters of presence or gurus of our perceived present. They can always do that, no matter the circumstances. However, trust me on this one: if you get to be in control of photographing an animal, you’ll become a true star! You’ll become widely appreciated, just like you’ve always dreamed of. No one will ever doubt your talents again. Because this is no piece of cake.

Let’s walk through the reasons why this is a praiseworthy deed. First of all, despite this obvious communication barrier, animals are better than humans. Why is that?

1.     Animals Are No Hypocrites

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star4

They are always themselves. Despite the fact that this actually means that they are never in the mood for photos, once you get the chance to immortalize something, it cannot be anything but genuine. Animals express their feelings and their moods without restraints. They don’t strive to be cute, they just are. They don’t strive to be fearful, they just are. What you see is what you get – no games played, no half measures, no fake smiles.

2.     Animals Don’t Care About Appearance

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Not caring about how you look today means no useless obstacles, no secondary thoughts, no brakes, just sheer freedom and excitement. So go for it! Immortalize the instant, cease the moment and send emails to employers afterwards. That’s why everybody is so impressed by cute photos with furry creatures. They are authentic!

3.     Animals Don’t Care About What Others Think

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Caring about exterior opinions usually refers to humans, not their animal friends. Parasite thoughts kill both freedom and creativity. And non-human models seem to have guessed that somehow, because no second thoughts interfere once they decide to start posing like there’s no tomorrow. They are relaxed, they are focused on what matters when magic happens – their own state of consciousness, and they simply mind their own business after all. And how fascinating that is!

4.     Animals Are Giving And Sincere

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It goes without saying that there’s a special connection between humans and their animal models. Well at least with some of them. When it comes to the less friendly species, one should just hide in the bushes and hunt the moment. That’s the only way. Therefore I’d strongly advise you to start by immortalizing the species that live among humans, just to get used to the vibe. What I’m trying to convince you of is the fact that you should start your training in this way.

Unfortunately people are wearing masks all the time. In other words, whenever you photograph them they are likely to be wearing at least three. If you want to get an honest vibe, start with your pet. For instance, let’s take a photograph showing a man and a dog. The dog in the first place, and not the man, would always draw one’s attention. It’s a simple fact of life. Animals can just exist, can just relax, and can just enjoy a moment, a meal or a sip of water without any further complications. For us humans things are always so abstract, so multi-layered, so blurry, so bring, so old, so confusing. That’s why photos of the animal kingdom are so successful; because they are authentic, and powerful, and they can say so many things using a totally different language than ours. So take your camera, make a simple plan or just start chasing your dog. Photographing an animal will make you a star! Just get off the right foot and trust me on this one, will you?

Family Photo Shoot Time: How to Photograph Kids and Pets

A recent post here at Virtual Photography Studio covered the often delicate issue of organizing and setting a price for photo shoots that involve newborn babies. And since we were on the topic of family photos, we’ve decided to tackle another related subject today: how to photograph kids and pets together. Two of the most difficult to approach subjects in family and wedding photography also often make for some of the most engaging photos in the field. They are also often to be found at weddings and family celebrations since, let’s face it, they’re often the stars of the affair. Now, you may already know how to take endearing pictures of the family pooch, or how to bring out the best in little Timmy’s personality in front of the camera. But what happens when you need to work with both of them at the same time? Here are some of the basic tips you can readily apply in such scenarios, to come up with lovely pictures of the whole family!How to Photograph Kids and Pets

Capture them on the go

What can be more genuine and lovely than a picture of a child frolicking with the family dog, on the freshly mowed lawn? Not many things, if you ask us, which is why it’s always a good idea to capture these subjects as they move about. Avoid asking kids to pose, if you can – you run the risk of coming up with a photo that looks contrived. Instead, follow them at play and capture spontaneous moments. The technique of action shots does require a good dose of practice, but it’s well worth it, after all is said and done.

How to photograph kids and pets? At their level!

The most engaging portraits, irrespective of the species you’re shooting, are taken at eye level. This, of course, means that when you’re photographing kids and pets together, you’ll be spending most of your time on your knees. However, a well-framed shot of a kid holding a kitten, eyes looking directly into the camera, can melt even the iciest of hearts. Of course, don’t take this to mean that you need to make your ‘models’ look into the lens – in fact, you should probably avoid this altogether. Instead, for great effects, try to shoot from the perspective of the animals and kiddos you’re photographing. This will make your work seem natural and candid, it will help you achieve even lighting, and will probably greatly improve the quality of the background, too.

Up, close, and personal

Another rule of thumb on how to photograph kids and pets is to use your viewfinder and/or camera LCD to fill up as much space as you can with your subject. The closer you get, the more personal the shot will look, in the end. Don’t shy away from using the camera’s zoom, either. Remember that your aim is to capture those moments that count and they usually happen when a close bond is formed. They’re not the kind of moments you can notice from a distance, you know? Remember to check out the closest zooming distance whenever you go in for the zoom, then fire away.


One of the biggest challenges that even professional photographers are faced with, when photographing more than a single subject, is that of blurry, out-of-focus pictures. It most often happens when you’re using the auto-focus function of the camera (which you never should do, anyway, as a professional photographer). Make sure to lock the focus on your subject, then fire away. With a bit of luck (and a lot of practice) you’ll get clear, focused shots of precisely what you had been aiming for: love.

Make Pet Personalities Steal The Show

If you have a pet, you know they have more personality then some humans. Take away their favorite toy and they pout. Or if you leave without them, they may ignore you for a while upon your return.

If you have a photograph of your pet on your desk, wall or iPhone, why do you like that image? Chances are it shows their personality. They are doing what they love, and look that much cuter doing it.

One of my favorite photographs of my first dog was of him sitting in a pile of socks. He would steal socks every chance he got, and run all over the house, hoping you would chase him. You couldn’t leave socks out anywhere without him grabbing a pair. So when he found a pile of socks fresh from the laundry, he sat in the middle looking like he was in heaven. I couldn’t resist the shot – and its still one of my favorites of him to this day.

That’s the beauty of an amazing portrait. It not only captures your pet, it captures the essence of him as well.

Instead of having your clients bring in their pets, and photographing them on your standard backgrounds, why not learn more about your clients in the process? [Read more…]

7 Ways To Market A Pet Photography Business

Over 60 percent of all households own some type of pet. And in many cases a family pet is exactly that – a part of the family. So with billions of dollars being spent on pets every year, why not take your own piece of the pie?

If you are thinking of opening up a pet photography business, or already have one in place, you are doing it out of love for animals. You have just as much fun working with them as you do their human counterparts. But how do you market to people for this type of business? Take a look at these seven ideas to get your business going in the right direction.

1. Start with a mailer in your local area. Any mailing list company should be able to get you a list of pet owners within your local area, or by zip code surrounding your studio. Mailings are still very effective, and because costs are up and the economy is down, we’re actually receiving less mail than ever. Which means your postcards will stand out more than ever. Start up a mailing list and keep it up.

Pet Photography 2image source

2. Look for specialty shops. In my local area, we have a gourmet dog food shop, a shop catering to “pampered pups”, a store offering custom ceramic bowls and storage containers for pet food, and many day care facilities specifically for dogs and cats. Talk with the shop owners about doing a special promotion together.
[Read more…]

How To Photograph Pets

According to a recent pet owner survey, over 62 percent of U.S. households own a pet – equating to 71.4 million homes. And for a great majority of these households, they look at their pet as a part of the family. Which means it’s an ideal source for your photography business.

If you’ve ever photographed small children, you know how difficult it can be working with something that has a mind of its own. In that manner, pets are a similar subject matter. It can be a challenge to keep them still, make them “pose”, and get them into a great position. But the results can be monetarily rewarding. Here are 7 tips to get you started.

1. Develop a trust. Determine where you’ll be photographing: the client’s home, your studio, the park? Meet your client there and plan on spending the first five to ten minutes playing and warming up to the pet. (Okay, you may not have to do this if it’s fish, but definitely with a dog or cat.) Talk with the owner about ways to shorten this process, like introducing a favorite toy or treat. If they trust you, they’ll work with you easier.

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image source

2. Choose your background. Keep your background as clean and uncluttered as possible. If you’re meeting at the park, watch what angle you’re photographing from. Are there cars in the background? Groups of people? Switch your angle to ensure the most pleasing look. Then be prepared for taking a variety of photographs to ensure you get the best angle and poses.
[Read more…]