How to Photograph Pets in 5 Simple Steps

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Last Updated on 16th February 2021 by Sophie Nadeau

Although photographing pets may seem just like photographing people, It’s harder to artistically direct them, for one! So here’s a quick 5 step guide on how to photograph pets:

#1 Use Natural Light

Natural light is the photographer’s best friend. There’s no need to mess around with expensive studio lighting, when sunlight is free. Plus, you’re more likely to find a beautiful background in nature!

Make sure to avoid taking photos in the middle of the day when there will be direct glare from the sun and harsh shadows will contrast badly with even harsher highlights. Instead, take photographs during the golden ‘hours’, the hour before sunrise and the hour

Focus on their Face

Eyes is what you’re aiming to specifically focus on here. Use a lower aperture number to make your foreground really stand out against the background. Although I usually use auto-focus, sometimes, especially in lower lighting situations, you’ll need to use manual focus.


Do you want to just show their face, or show their entire body? Don’t be afraid to move around and try out different ideas. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? If the worst is that you’ll have to delete a few photos that nobody else will ever see, then who cares!

Burn some pixels & Use a fast shutter speed

Take multiple shots. Take as many shots as it ‘takes’ to get the moment just right. –Okay, enough bad puns now!

Much like taking photos of infants and toddlers, photographing pets requires a faster shutter speed to really ‘capture the moment’. A faster shutter speed may mean that you want to put your ISO a little higher to let some more light into your frame.

Be patient

Patience is key. It’s never going to be as easy to photograph pets as adults: it’s harder to make them sit still, for one! Take your time and don’t rush. It also helps if you know the pet quite well. An animal will likely be more comfortable around you if they know who you are (and that you’re friendly)!

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how to photograph pets in 5 simple steps

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!


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