Capturing your pet’s cuteness isn’t always easy. Either they won’t sit still or they look away just as you take the shot. Sound familiar?

Thankfully, we’ve got some pet photography tips to help you get the best shots. Who better than a pro photographer to provide some useful hints on how to take a ‘pawsome’ shot of your four-legged pal? Out friend Ruth O’Leary, from Ruthless Photos, shares her top tips for taking photos of your four-legged friend.

10 tips for taking better photos of your pet

Photos are an amazing way of capturing a memory and preserving a special moment in time. If only pet photography was as simple as it sounds!

If like most pet owners, you’ve had difficulties trying to get your fur baby to sit still long enough to take a good photo, these tips might just help you capture the perfect pic.

1. Make the camera your pet’s friend

Show your bark buddy or purring pal that the camera is his friend not his foe by firing off some shots near your pet while doing something that it enjoys – petting it, feeding it, playing with it, for example. Teach them from the off that the camera/phone is not the enemy and is nothing to be afraid of.

2. Bribery pays

No one likes to ‘work what they’ve got’ for free, so when it comes to pet photography it pays to entice your dog or cat with their favourite thing – be it a toy, treat, empty toilet roll, whatever works and keeps them interested in the job at hand.

3. Use noise to get their attention

While most pet owners will avoid buying super annoying squeaky toys, if you want to get your dog’s attention – they’re just the ticket. Most dogs will stop what they’re doing and look at you when they hear that squeak. You might even be lucky enough to get a cute head-tilt.

white dog up close to camera

4. See eye to eye

Snapping shots from above can be a really effective way to photograph dogs (especially if you’re dangling a piece of salami off the top of your camera or phone!). However, try getting down to their level sometimes to show the world from a dog’s eye view.

5. Use soft natural light, not flash or harsh sunlight

Unless you know how to use off-camera lighting I recommend that you avoid shooting with a flash or in full sun. Your photos will be much more pleasing if you place your subject in soft, natural light or open shade.

6. Focus on eyes

They say ‘the eyes are the windows to the soul’ so try to ensure their eyes are crystal clear in your pet photography attempts. Unless you’re trying to get an artistic shot by focusing elsewhere, your photo will look best if the eyes are sharp.

scruffy black and white dog sat on grass next to camera

7. Ditch background clutter

Things like washing lines and wheelie bins can ruin an otherwise great photo. When embarking on pet photography, don’t just focus on your beloved pooch. Check what’s in the background and re-arrange or adjust your position. Other things to look out for are trees and plant pots that appear to be growing out of your dog’s head.

8. Take LOTS of photos

Dogs and cats have a mind of their own and, unless you have a highly trained one, you’ll probably need to take several photos to get just one money shot. Be grateful you’re shooting digital and not film!

9. Keep it fun

Even though a four-legged subject can be frustrating, especially when they go chasing after a bird — try not to get annoyed. Keep your cool, and reward often.

10. Play dress up

Dogs love to play, so why not introduce some props like hats, scarves, toys and neckerchiefs. Even if you don’t get the perfect shot, you’ll have a whole heap of fun trying.

So what are you waiting for? Go get snapping — and don’t forget to have a laugh!


Image source: Unsplash

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Leanne Philpott

Leanne is a freelance writer at She works alongside her fur pal Chewie (a border terrier) and is passionate about promoting responsible pet ownership.