Six hints to get better images of your pets – Canberra Pet photographer

So you just invested in a new camera or just received a new iPhone or Samsung Ultra.  Your first port of call is to take photos of your family or your pets.

Your overall objective is to post beautiful images to your Instagram grid.  But where do you start?

Today I plan to share my top six tips for getting better images of your pets.  Implementing these tips will vastly improve your photography and also the images of your pets.


First of all, you have to be patient when photographing a pet.  As they say, photographing babies and pets are the most challenging photography.

If you have been around a professional photographer before, you will constantly hear them say, stand this way, chin down, just one more photo.  You just do not get this option with a dog or a cat.

It simply will not happen.  ‘

Even with the most trained dogs, it is a challenge to get them standing still for long periods of time let alone to stand in a different manner.

You will find that when you’re patient with your pet, they are calmer and more relaxed.  This will permit you more opportunities to photograph them.  That shot which will remember of years to come will become more apparent when you are calm and patient.

Without patience, pet photography becomes very difficult.

Pay the model

Every animal needs to have some sort of motivation to pay attention to you during the shoot.  Some may call this bribery.  But it works!!

While you need patience, it also helps to motivate your pet with treats, toys, and cuddles to keep them interested otherwise you may just find that they will wander off or become quickly disinterested.

For cats, it may be a feather toy, a paper bag, tuna fish, or even their favourite blanket.  Dogs are very much motivated with treats, toys, or even try some peanut butter.


Good lighting is everything in photography.  Without light (whether natural or artificial) there are no images.  The ultimate aim is to get catchlights in your pet’s eyes – (these are the white reflective parts that you see in their eyes).  Therefore, avoid shooting in dark rooms or on really overcast days.

While you may not have strobe lights like a professional photographer you should remember that bright yet diffused light (think cloudy days) is the easiest to create flattering pet portraits.  Therefore, before you even start shooting, take time to look around your subject’s environment and determine where the best bright, yet diffused light is; then move to that location and shoot to your heart’s content.


With photography, it is not uncommon for people to stand up when taking their photographs.  This technique is also used often in pet photography.  While it is possible to get beautiful when shooting down on your pets, it is often not the most flattering angle.

I remember that when you are taking photographs of your pets, get down to their level.  That means sitting on your bum or getting on your hands and knees and shooting straight on.

If getting down low is a problem, then raise your pets!!  Utilise a ledge, stool or garden bench to bring your pets up to a higher height.  You can shoot from underneath to give another different perspective.


The perfect location will make your photo just sing.  We are so lucky in Canberra to have so many gorgeous outdoor locations to select from.

This means you do not have to rely on using your backyard as the backdrop for your photos.  That is except if your pet is a cat where the bulk of my cat portraits take place in the family home/backyard.

While your backyard is functional and contains some grass, shrubs, and a fence, they are generally not visually appealing. This is why I will generally suggest a studio photoshoot or go out on location.

While the focus should always remain on your pet, a gorgeous backdrop will complement or enhance your pet portrait.

Canberra Pet Photographer -Kaiser sitting on the jetty with the lake in the background

If you still persevere with the backyard for your portraits you should clear up the yard so there is not too much clutter that detracts from the image.

Play breaks

Pets are notoriously inquisitive and will spend much of their time exploring and investigating their new environment.  It is also difficult to engage your pets for long periods of time.

Pets unless people do not know your plans.  All that they see is a camera jammed into their faces – which is totally foreign to them.

Therefore, it is important to provide them with plenty of attention and incorporate lots of play breaks into your photo session.

It also minimises the risk of them getting bored and misbehaving if you tailor the photoshoot around regular breaks.

By incorporating regular play breaks will provide you with stronger and better photographs.

This is not an exhaustive list.  Other key aspects to consider are lens selection, keep their eyes sharp, introduce macro shots, introduce props and also go to your pets will also enhance your images.

Let me know what you intend to introduce to improve your photography?  Want to have some portraits taken of your pets?  Contact me here to arrange a non-salesy consultation.

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