Portrait of a dog on sofa by Seattle Photographer Lara Grauer

Pet Pic Tips – Photos at Home

It’s hard not to appreciate the spontaneous joie de vivre expressed by our furry friends! For that reason, it’s always a challenge to capture their cutest poses and true natures. Here are my best tips for photographing—and celebrating—our four-legged companions. May is National Pet Month, after all.

Ways to capture the looks you love. It takes a lot of pictures to get that magic one you’ll treasure, but it’s worth it.

  1. Partner up. One person takes pictures while the other directs/cajoles/inspires your pet.
  2. Make it fun for your pet. Provide treats, give love, throw toys—whatever it takes to make it a game for them. Take action photos.
  3. Get light in their eyes. Stage your photos near a window or outside (as long as it’s not raining). Even if it’s not sunny, your pet will look dreamy with the sky reflected in their eyes! Check out the image above for a great example: taken on the couch near a window, there were no fancy lights required!
  4. Surprise your pet. Get them settled in, get your camera ready and then make some unexpected noise. A squeaky toy, crinkly wrappers or a chirp from you will do! Be ready to capture their initial reaction.
  5. Give your pet an oversized treat or toy. While they’re chomping or pouncing, take pictures from different angles and maybe turn on different lights in the room.
  6. Wrap them up. If your pet’s comfortable, get them snuggled into a blanket or other picturesque wrap, help them settle down and then take some photos. 

A couple of no-nos.

  • Don’t say your pet’s name. They’ll think you want them to come closer, instead of staying at the designated photo spot.
  • Avoid making eye contact or talking to your pet when at their level. They’ll probably see this as an invitation to cuddle!

Not sure how to start? See my pet portfolio for ideas. 

Happy National Pet Month to you and all your friends! Share your favorite pet photo by tagging my Facebook page and tell us what worked (and what didn’t).