Pet Photography Tips

We’re lucky to live in a world where our cell phones are often the only tool we need to capture a moment with our beloved pets. Here’s some tips for capturing quality photos of your animal friends.

10 Pet Photography Tips

  1. Be somewhere they are comfortable
    • Whether planning a shoot with Coop & You or just taking photos yourself, make sure the location is somewhere your dog is comfortable. Photos taken in your own living room, back yard, or a favorite park will often yield the best results because your pet is free to be themself without worries of a new place.
  2. Have treats
    • Like myself, most pets are motivated by food. Have their favorite treats handy to coax them into the pose or location you want them to be in. You’ll also want to give them some yummy snacks as a reward for their good work after the shoot!
  3. If they’re uncomfortable around the camera, don’t add costumes
    • I’ve made this mistake with my own dog. She did not like her Halloween costume a couple of years ago, but we strapped it on her because we had to take family photos in our group costume. Poor thing looks miserable in all of the shots. Not worth it! If your pet doesn’t like costumes skip it or be sure to slowly get them used to wearing it in the weeks leading up to the shoot or occasion.
  4. Use toys as props
    • One of my favorite things about my Google Pixel 3 is the slow-motion camera capabilities and portrait mode. I like to throw my dog her ball and capture it in slow-motion. The results are hilarious and authentic because she doesn’t know I’m taking her photo, she’s just playing fetch!
  5. Capture them in action
    • This one might depend on your phone or camera, but instead of trying to get your dog in a specific pose or in front of a backdrop, just capture them being them! Get some action shots at the dog park or playing in the backyard. I’m a sucker for candid photos and they usually end up being my favorite.
  6. Use their tricks
    • Like using their toys as props, use the tricks your dog knows to get the photo you want. “Sit. Stay.” is perfect for getting them to sit still in front of a backdrop. Ask them to shake hands for an adorable shot. This is more applicable for dogs than other pets, but perhaps I’m not giving other pets enough credit!
  7. Take them for a run before-hand or incorporate into a training session
    • Again, perhaps more applicable for dogs, try to tire them out before a photo session so that they are happy to be sitting or laying down in one place. An energetic pet may be desired for a candid shoot, but for a general session, you’ll want them calm. You can also incorporate photos into your normal training sessions by giving them treats everytime they do something you want them to do during the shoot. This will help keep them engaged.
  8. Be patient
    • Dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, any pets, unfortunately, do not speak English. They don’t know what you want from them. Be patient and remember to keep it calm and fun for them. If they aren’t into it, you may just have to call it a day and try again another time.
  9. Minimize distractions
    • Pets, especially dogs, can be easily distracted by loud noises or quick movements happening around them. If possible, find a location with minimal distractions like your own home, a dog park at a not-so busy time, or just try to keep your distance from others.
  10. Make it fun
    • In the end, your pet will probably never enjoy having their photo taken as much as you enjoy capturing those moments. But the key is to make sure they have a pleasant experience so they don’t mind you whipping out the phone/camera here and there. Give them lots of positive praise and treats.

So why pay for professional pet photography?

Part of the reason I came up with the very idea for Coop & You was realizing I wasn’t in many photos with my own dogs. Not to mention, it’s hard when out adventuring to stop and take photos of your pet, especially if they are always anxious to keep moving (like our big dog, Fidus) or nervous (like our little dog, Cooper). When I’m out with them, I have to give them my full attention (the way it really should be with any pet). And at home, while I can get individual photos of them with ease, it’s hard to get family shots even with a tripod and a timer.

And, while phone cameras are extraordinary today, they still don’t hit the same mark as DSLR or mirrorless cameras. This can be particularly frustrating if you want to blow up a photo for a print or canvas but your phone’s image quality just isn’t good enough. By booking with a pet photographer, you’ll get the image sizes you need for prints and you’ll also get professional photo editing.

When you book with Coop & You, or any professional pet photographer, you get to just enjoy being in the moment with your dog, running along the beach, playing at the park, or snuggling at home. We’ll capture that moment for you so you can remember it forever.

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