7 (not your typical) Tips for Photographing Pets

I first drafted this blog post with a different idea in mind.  But as usual, I find it more entertaining to show the lighter side of things.  Don’t worry, there’s still a chock full of good tips and ideas.    

And to quickly skip to the cliff notes part of this bad boy, no matter what type of personality the four legged friend in front of my lens has, this is what I need to remember:

  • Patience, patience, patience.
  • Have an idea of what I want and be ready.
  • Be prepared for that idea to go to shreds and have a plan B.
  • And a plan C, D, E, F, G.
  • Have fun and most importantly LAUGH.  

Before we head into the countdown I should probably confess that all images below are of dogs.  But please, go ahead and mold the ideas to your specific pet!

1. Make ‘em run

So you need to get not one but two dogs to take a picture together?  Do you feel you have a better chance at winning the lotto?  Well, you are right.  But if you have a little bit of patience and some motivation, keep reading.  If not, go play the lotto (and if you win, remember who sent you).

These two fluffernutters would not sit still to save the puppy world.  Instead, they would chase each other back down the opposite end of the beach leaving me in the dust…wanting to leave them at the beach.  Kidding.  Kind of.

After many laps back and forth, my own patience was low on fuel when I noticed the two started to slow down.  I decided to try one last time and sat them next to each other by the water while they focused on catching their breath.  Slowly, I backed away from them with camera in hand and expectations not too high.  Whipped out the camera, clicked away and captured this.

As long as there’s time to spare, I’ve used this technique for pet and family sessions.  Yes it’ll work for pets and their families.  No, this will not work for kids too.

Quick note:

While the four legged friends are running rampant, make sure to get those action shots!  Stand in their line of attack as they come towards you.  Or plant yourself perpendicular to their path of destruction and get a side shot of them mid-air, mid-leap!


2. Get down on their level or stay above

If you’re down for the possibility of getting attacked by puppy kisses and/or pounced on, get down to their level for a fun perspective.  Don’t forget details while you are there!  Paws, claws, talons.  They all deserve a shot.  Get it?  Anyway.

If your knees are bad or you are just lazy, I promise you can still get a good shot by just standing above your furry friend.  This pup was recently featured in the previous blogpost and I had to use this image again.  While I photographed his human family members, he sat nicely next to me patiently waiting his turn to model.  I aimed the camera down over his head, called his name and bam.  He looked up to me just as I wanted.  

3. Stick them in a location they love

On your couch!  Or bed!  Or his bed.  Or her throne.  

Or…the beach!

As soon as we met at one of her favorite beaches, we followed her lead.  Up the beach we went by way of sand, finding treasures like a bird feather.  On the way back, she trekked through the shallow part of the water and slurped up a drink or two along the way.  All of these little adventures are great photo opportunities!  Especially for outdoor trips like these, allow them to explore.  Maybe guide them towards pretty dunes and if they are into it, great!  If not, I bet there is a large piece of driftwood somewhere nearby.  Or it you at a park, a large rock.  Once they get into their sniffing and exploring duties, call out their name loudly and see if they look right at you in response.  Get that picture.

4.  Or don’t  

I’m not saying to put your dog or someone else’s dog in a place where they might freak out.  We don’t need or want scared animals.  But if you and the dog are willing, put them in someplace like, I don’t know, a soft flower bed.  It might make them freeze for a picture.  And before they can figure out where the heck they are, take them out and hug them as a thank you.

Which brings me to my next tip…

5. Pretend snuggles  

If you are with another person and all else fails…have the other person snuggle the crap out of them.  And if they don’t like snuggles…

6. Ignore them

Sometimes pets, such as cats, prefer distance.  Not to say that this sweet face liked to be ignored.  However, a break from our attention may make them want the attention back.  They might bark a “Hello??  Is it me you’re looking for?”.  You take the picture and reunite with hugs and treats and more hugs and if they are lucky, more treats.

7. Acceptance

Because you can have all the patience, millions of ideas, an alphabets worth of plans and a great sense of humor.  But it can still be a certified hot mess.  But hey, at least you will be prepared for your own top outtakes of the year.

Want to make someone else do all of this work for you?  Drop me a line!

I’m offering special 2017 pet session rates you don’t want to miss out on!

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