4 Pet Photography Tips


Pets. To know them is to love them. To photograph them is a whole other ball game. Our over-eager, energetic pets can cause a bit of a disturbance when you're trying to get them to sit still, but if you manage to capture a dog in a moment of peace- it can turn out to be an absolutely beautiful photograph.

At Shutterstock Custom, we work with a variety of pet-focused clients that require our contributors to create custom content for their social channels, involving shooting pets in lifestyle scenarios. We’re sharing a few pet photography tips to capture pets in action, with less blur and less stress. 

4 Tips for Better Pet Photographs


Use treats or toys

Most pets will not understand when you tell them to cross their paws, and look at the camera. Sometimes, you have to give a little more motivation to get them involved. While the first step in photographing a pet would be hoping that they already know the basic rules of sit and stay, getting them to look at the camera might be a new experience.

  • Try holding a treat or favourite toy just above your camera to direct the pets attention to the viewfinder.
  • If you’re shooting someone else’s pet, ensure you obtain permission to give them a treat or ask what treats the pet normally receives.
  • If you don’t have access to a treat, try a toy or any other object that might get the pets attention.

Allow for some play time before the shoot

Sometimes, you just have to let a pet get it out of their system. They may simply have too much energy to sit still. To save yourself a headache or unwanted stress, play with the pet for a bit to let them tire out a little. Unless your pet is a professional, you can’t expect them to sit still to be photographed the minute you are ready. Sometimes playing out that energy, even if it’s for a few minutes, is the perfect way to start a shoot with a pet. 

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Learn what works for the pet

When you’re taking photographs of a pet that isn’t your own, knowing what works for them will go a long way. Ask the owner what they like. What unusual things might work for the pet to get them to look at the camera? Every pet is different, and has a different personality and preferences. By learning what the pet you’re about to photograph likes or doesn’t like, you’ll be able to better prepare for your shoot. 


Prepare your camera to be fast

Photographing pets is like becoming a sports photographer for the day, you never know when a pivotal moment is going to happen- so always be ready to capture it. Use a fast shutter speed so that if your subject has a hard time sitting still, you can still capture them.

  • Your shutter speed should be at least 1/250, if not higher so adjust your settings accordingly.
  • Turn your camera on burst mode so that your continuing to capture a lot of shots that may up your chances of getting the perfect one.
  • And last but not least, set up your camera to be in continuous autofocus mode if it’s not already. This will help prevent the chance of your subject not being in focus when you are on shoot. 

We hope these tips help you on your next shoot involving a pet. Have any other tips you’d like to share with our community? Comment them below. We can’t wait to see what you create. 

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