Capture Picture Perfect Photos of Your Pet

How to Get Picture Perfect Photos of Your Pet
“Golden Retriever - Biscuit makes a statement” by John Collins is licensed under CC BY 2.0. (Link to photo on Flickr:

Today is National Love Your Pet Day in the US and what better way to show how much you love your furry, feathery or, scaly best friend than with a beautiful photo. Sure, you may have lots of those unintentional fuzzy pics in your camera roll but never fear! We’ve pulled together some of the best tips around to capture that picture-perfect photo that will have you howling our praises.

1) Try to use natural light.

If you’re going for the wide-over-exposed red-eyed look, then feel free to ignore this first tip and use the glaring flash. Most of us (and probably them, too!), however, enjoy the natural glow that fresh air and open skies bring out in our special friends. If you must photograph indoors, look for windows to provide the illumination you’re looking for. Trust us, the zombie look is sooo last Halloween.

Pet Photo - Snowflake
“Luna and Alice” by Jonas Löwgren is licensed under CC BY 2.0. (Link to photo on Flickr:

2)  Be patient.

We can’t stress this enough because fur-babies can be easily distracted by pretty much anyth... SQUIRREL!...wait, what were we talking about? Unless your pet is a New York Fashion Week model-reincarnate—voguing this way and posing that, you’re probably going to need some time to snag the best frame.  This also means you may need to snap a lot of photos to find the perfect shot.

3) Relax.

Don’t feel the need to get it all done in one session. It could take multiple sessions to capture the look or feeling that you’re going for. Pets can also pick up on how their human companions are feeling. If you’re stressed out, they can get stressed out. When you’re calm, they’re calm. It works wonderfully when you two are in sync. 

4) Practice. Practice. Practice.

Get your pet used to the camera by assimilating them to the noise of the shutter or the lens so close to their face that they can see themselves in it. Or, if they have a terrible case of the zoomies, use that moment to practice your action shots.

5) See eye-to-eye. 

Literally, get to their eye level and see the world from their point of view. You’ll be amazed at the gorgeous photo you can capture of your favorite friend. There is a wealth of depth to their eyes and when you’re right there with them, you’ll not only capture the moment more proportionally but you’ll also connect with them in a very special way.

love your pet day
“Snowflake” by David~O is licensed under CC BY 2.0. (Link to photo on Flickr:

6) Use a telephoto lens.

Seriously, sometimes the best photos are taken when your bestie is caught unaware. They’re just doing their thing and capturing them in their natural (goofy/reflective/snoring) state is so much easier when they don’t even know you’re there. After relaxing and practicing, try not being too close and see if you can get that picture-perfect moment from afar.

7) Photo editing software can be your other best friend.

Trying to get that family group shot just right? One may be looking at the birds in the sky while someone else might be fascinated with that delicious looking treat just a few steps away, That’s OK! Using a great photo editing tool like Adobe Photoshop, ON1, or Skylum's Luminar 4, easily take one moment from another and stitch together what you know was there all along.

8) Stay organized.

With multiple sessions and lots and lots of patience, it will mean, of course, lots and lots of photos. Use the Auto Upload feature on your SmugMug mobile app or upload them through the SmugMug desktop app. Either will allow you to preserve and share your photos with the world.

Pet photography
“Hello” by anaroza is licensed under CC BY 2.0. (Link to photo on Flickr:

Did you like these tips? We're sure there are so many more great suggestions to help fellow photographers capture their own love. Share them with us and others on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Written by SmugMug

Feb 20, 2020 · 4 min read

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