A Guide to Photographing Pets for Pet Portraits

Welcome to our latest blog post which is a Guide to Photographing Pets for Pet Portraits. We have been accepting commissions for a fair number of years now and the key element in our job is getting good quality photos from our clients.

If you aren’t used to taking photos of your pets, or your pets are camera shy, it can often be a difficult task. With this in mind, we thought we would write a blog post to help our clients with some tips and tricks for taking photos of their pets for a portrait.

1. Natural Light is Your Best Friend

When taking photos of your pet, choose a location with ample natural light. If you can be near a window if you are indoors, or ultimately take your pet outside. Allow the sunlight to be over your shoulder when looking at the pet, rather than from behind them. This can alleviate the dark shadowing on the face. It might be an idea to avoid harsh midday sunlight, as it can cast strong shadows and cause your pet to squint. Early morning or late afternoon provides soft, golden light that enhances the fur’s texture and brings out the natural colours.

2. Eye Level Perspective

Get down to your pet’s eye level or place your dog on qa table or higher surface to take photos. It means that we are now looking straight at your dog rather than looking down at them. This perspective allows us to capture your pet looking right at them, or them looking right at you, which results in a more engaging and personal portrait. Often the quick snap like the photo below can be the most rewarding moment in time as it is perfect for a portrait.

A Guide to Photographing Pets for Pet Portraits

3. Patience is a Virtue

Pets are not professional models, and they may not always cooperate immediately. Allow your pet to get used to the camera and environment. Capture candid moments during play or relaxation for authentic expressions that showcase their true character.

4. Focus on the Eyes

The eyes are the windows to the soul, and this holds true for pet portraits as well. Ensure the eyes are sharp, clear, and reflective of your pet’s personality. Use the camera’s focus settings to draw attention to the eyes and create a captivating focal point.

Pet Photography

5. Capture Your Pets Unique Poses and Expressions

Our advice when taking photos is to take plenty! Keep snapping away and keep your camera or phone handy for any perfect moments to be captured. Just like these to gorgeous dogs here, both sat on the sofa together. Even if you take a range of photos from that shoot, we may be able to mix and match them sitting together in the portrait. One dog may have a perfect expression in one photo and the other dog in another photo. Plenty can be done, but we need the basics to work with in the first place. So keep snapping away!

Encourage your pet to express their individuality. A playful bow, a curious gaze, or a serene moment can all make for a dynamic and expressive portrait. Experiment with different angles to find the most flattering and interesting shots too.

A Guide to Photographing Pets for Pet Portraits

6. Minimize Distractions

Try to take photos of your pets without coats or big collars if you can. If you would like them to be portrayed on a sofa, the best way is to take photos of them on a sofa, opposed to in the garden where the grass covered the feet for instance. Keep the camera focused on your pet filling the viewfinder or screen and try not to have too much background.

All in the eyes for a pet portrait

7. Showcase Their Personality

Every pet has a unique personality, and your portrait should reflect that. Whether your pet is goofy, regal, or mischievous, aim to capture their distinctive traits. Include elements in the photo that highlight their character, such as favorite toys or environments.

8. Include Their Favourite Blanket..

Consider incorporating their favourite things or accessories that complement your pet’s personality. Their favourite blanket for instance is always a popular one, or a collar with a special tag. Perhaps they have a favourite toy making the portrait it even more meaningful.

A Guide to Photographing Pets for Pet Portraits

9. Don’t Worry About Minor Details..

To some extent we can change things when we paint or draw your portrait. The photos don’t need to be 100% perfect. For example this dog below, the tongue was hanging out of the mouth to the right hand side and the client preferred the portrait with the tongue in the mouth.

Using photo editing software we can mock up how we think it should look and show the client before starting any work. This way we are all on the same page and we know what the end result will look like.

There are limitations with this however, so please check with us and send your photos and questions and we can let you know what is possible using your photos. Can you spot the difference below?

We can work a bit of pet portrait magic

10. Finally – Send Us Your Photos!

By following these guidelines, you will be well on your way to providing us with a collection of photos that truly represent your pet. Remember, the more thought and effort you put into capturing the photos, the better the portrait will be in the long run.

You are more than welcome to email us for advice at any time, or WhatsApp us! We are always more than happy to help.

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