How to Take the Cutest Photos of Your Cat or Dog

How to Take the Cutest Photos of Your Cat or Dog

by M Caroline
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Wondering how to take the cutest photos of your cat or dog? We share ten easy tips to get great pet photos.

Taking great photos of your cat or dog can be more complicated than taking a great photo of your friends or family. You can always ask your kids to smile for the camera, but your cat’s a lot less likely to pose on command.

How to Take the Cutest Photos of Your Cat or Dog

Getting adorable pet photos is more complicated that choosing the best camera settings for pet photography. Pet photography is as much about pet behavior as it is working with your camera.

Make sure your pet is relaxed and comfortable

If your cat or dog is stressed and nervous, it will be almost impossible to take a great photo. Pets are at their cutest when they’re relaxed and happy.

Take photos in a familiar environment

Cats, especially, are more comfortable in their home environment.

Even most dogs are the most relaxed in familiar environments. Most dogs will be more relaxed if you avoid excessively busy environments, like busy shopping areas, or spots with lots of traffic.

dog welcome home on brown mat

Take photos of your pet during their normal routine

Pets are notoriously difficult to pose. Cats, in particular, are almost impossible.

You’ll likely have the most luck taking photos of your pets as they go about their daily business, like napping in their favorite spot, playing in the local park, or snoozing in a spot of sunlight in the kitchen.

If you have time, walk through your house, and think about where your pets sleep or play. You can then even take a couple of minutes to make the environment better. Move clutter out of the background, or even do things like put down a more attractive blanket in your cat’s favorite napping spot.

Choose good lighting

Photography is mostly about the lighting. The best lighting is usually natural light outdoors (or near a window).

If you’re looking for a wonderful golden glow, take your photos in natural light in the one hour before sunset.

You can also get wonderful light in the blue hour, or one hour after sunrise. Taking photos during the golden hour, or blue hour, minimizes harsh shadows from direct overhead sunlight.

Good lighting will also help prevent your photos from being blurry. Most blurry photos come from either a pet who is moving quickly, or from insufficient light.

Use burst mode

Because pets move so quickly, it’s hard to capture the perfect shot. Just as you see your pet do something adorable, it’s over.

If you take multiple photos in a single shutter press, then you increase your chances of getting the perfect shot. Just discard the extra, unused photos.

Most cell phone cameras and DSLR or mirrorless cameras have a burst mode setting, which lets you take ten or more photos with one shutter press.

Use a fast shutter speed

If your camera lets you adjust your shutter speed, consider yourself lucky! Pets often move quickly, so choosing a fast shutter speed on your camera helps you capture your pet’s movements without the blur.

Get down on your pet’s level

Most beginner photographers tend to take their photos from a standing position. For pets, you can often get the best up-close shots when you get down to their level.

How to take cute photos of your dog or cat - Cairn Terrier Puppy running
Pedigree dog outdoors on a sunny summer day.

Take plenty of photos

My photography improved exponentially once I started taking plenty of photos. Sure, I discard a good portion of my shots, but I also get more good ones. It’s just a numbers game.

Be patient

Pets rarely perform on command. If you’re patient, and calm, you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting a great photo.

Focus on your cat’s or dog’s eyes

Most of the best pet photos feature their eyes. Cats and dogs eyes are large and expressive, and make for wonderful photos. Featuring your pet’s eyes also lets you show their unique personality.

Use play to get your pet interested

Using toys to get your pet to play is a wonderful way to get great photos. It creates an adorable, playful pose in your pet, and also keeps them interested.

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Do you have any tips for great pet photos? Let us know in the comments!

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