Sit. Stay. Smile! – Tips for Taking Great Pet Photos – Massillon, Ohio Vet Clinic & Grooming

Today’s post will be all about taking photos of your furry family members. In honor of our Canine Celebrity Contest which includes a mini session from Noble Soul Pet Photography for your dog, we will go over a few tricks of the trade to help you take better images of your own pets! Dogs, cats and other pets all tend to be extremely photogenic, however, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you get a great image you will love.

Tip #1: Have Patience. 

Photographing dogs or cats is one of the most challenging, patience-testing things you can ever attempt. But it always seems that right when you are at your limit and about to give up, that magic moment happens and you can get some really special photographs. Be mindful of your energy as your photographing your dog or cat. The more loud and excited you are, the more excited or nervous they will be. Above all, patience is key. Never get frustrated! If something isn’t working out, try a new approach, or leave it for another day and come back to try again.


Charlie is an older dog who really isn’t all that interested in having his photo taken. By being patient however I was able to get this cute head tilt.


Tip #2: Get on Their Level.

We typically view our pets from a level of about five to six feet off the ground. We are used to seeing them from this perspective and it feels comfortable to us. However, when you’re taking a cute photo of your dog or cat, try getting down on their level so your camera or phone is even with their eyes. This effectively puts you “in their world”, and offers such a unique and interesting twist on pet photos! Just utilizing this one trick will instantly make your pet photos look much better. Keep in mind that since each dog is different, this might mean laying on the ground to get your camera low enough for a very small dog. Alternatively, if you have a small breed dog you can place them up on furniture to get a better angle. Just be aware of your pet’s safety in case they would slip off or jump. If your dog instantly tries to walk up to you when you bend down (and let’s face it – what dog doesn’t?) then the simple solution is to tether them to a tree, stake, railing, or whatever secure area you can tie them to. You can then back up a few feet without your dog crowding you, grab their attention, and snap some amazing pics!

This kitten is up on a table to allow the photographer to take photos at eye level.

This kitten is up on a table to allow the photographer to take photos at eye level.

Tip #3: Find Good Light.

If shooting inside, try to take pics of your pets near a window or open door (just make sure they don’t run out that door). The brighter, natural light will make for gorgeous photos of your buddy. If outside, try to avoid shooting in direct sunlight unless it’s early in the morning, or later in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky. If it’s midday sun, try to find an area of shade to shoot in so your dog isn’t squinting in the bright light. The hour before the sun sets is what photographers refer to as the “golden hour”, and the setting sun makes the light take on a rich, soft, golden character. This is excellent light to shoot in if you can.

Cody was shot in golden hour, right before the sun dipped under the horizon.

Cody was shot in golden hour, right before the sun dipped under the horizon.

Tip #4: Use Novel Noises

Try to avoid calling your pet’s name over and over – they will just start (or keep) ignoring you. Instead, keep your voice and energy low, and use a unique noisemaker to get their attention. A squeaky toy or a duck call once or twice when your ready to shoot works great – or even your own built in noisemaker – your mouth! Pant, yip, or mewl like a kitten to elicit a response out of your pet. Remember not to overdo it though, just like their name, if you keep squeaking a toy over and over it will no longer be a novel sound and you will lose their interest.


Vinnie loved little squeaky sounds, and would look right at the camera every time.

We hope these tips will help and inspire you to go out and take excellent photos of your furry friends. If you used the tips here, post the results on our Facebook page and let us know you used them!

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