Pet photography is one of the most rewarding forms of photography, especially if you’re trying to add four-legged furry friends to family group photos, engagement photos, or wedding photos. Pet-friendly photo shoot not only adds a much-needed cutesy charm to the photos but also allows your clients to find extra satisfaction. If your upcoming photo assignment entails taking some shots of animals and pets, this blog will help you prepare for it. From how to be comfortable around animals and pets to tips on taking paw-friendly photos, this blog will help you become confident in your skills and craft.


Animal Photography 101: Can’t be Comfortable Around Animals, Then Here’s What You Can Do… 

Let’s start the list of easy-to-work-with pet photography tips by helping you get comfortable when you work with animals, be it a dog or a horse! The thing is some people are naturally comfortable around animals, which makes pet parent and animal portrait photography easy. However, it is safe to say, everyone is not the same, and you could have some trouble getting yourself positioned. And it could be difficult for your photo assignment. If you’re not comfortable around animals and are easily spooked, what’ll happen is that the animals around you will become spooked as well, and the photo shoot can turn out to be difficult. So, if you’re easily spooked or find it hard to be comfortable around animals, then here’s what you can do:


  1. Meet the Pet First

Before you think about starting with a photography session, you should try to spend some time with the pet or pets. One of the best ways to improve your photography session is to meet the pet before you start taking photos. Obviously, have the pet parent or pet parents around when you meet the pet. You can also try handing out some treats to the pet or pets. Always remember pets are serene and friendly. So, go in with a mindset of making friends!


  1. Rein in The Excitement 

Pets and animals are extremely sensitive to emotions. If you’re too excited, too happy, or scared, they’ll sense it. If the pet or pets feel that you’re scared of them, they will become uneasy and difficult to take good photos of. And if the animals sense that you’re excited, they’ll be too excited and playful during the pet parent and pet photo session. So, the second step to becoming comfortable with your animal photo subjects is to curb their excitement, this will help you keep them mellow and take photos of them the pets for who they are.


  1. Calm Your Mind 

For your upcoming pet photo shoots with couples, make sure that you go in with a solid mindset. As photographers, it is easy to get lost in the compositions that will be “just right. But with pets, you should remember animals are unpredictable, and they do whatever they want, mostly. In some cases, you’d find the pet and the pet owner doing their own thing, it is times like these you should consider remembering that there will be things you won’t be able to control. With pet photography, always remember to capture the pets in their natural light, and if they’re being themselves, use the opportunity to take some in-the-moment candid photos, the results will be soulful and will make your clients happy.


Paw-Friendly Photography Made Easy: The Essential Tips! 

Now that we’ve covered how to be comfortable around your clients’ pet or pets, let’s talk about making their pets a part of their happy moments, and capturing the moments! As wedding or engagement photographers you get a lot of requests for pet photography services. Pets are not only an important part of our lives but are also exceptionally cherished. The tips and ideas below will help you to capture all of your subjects in the best possible way:


  1. The Great Outdoors is Your Friend 

When we think of pets and animals, the first thing that comes to mind is imagining them running around, being themselves in an expansive field. And that is true, for pretty much every animal, be it a dog, a cat, a pony, or a horse. That said, the best of the soulful pet photography tips is to make friends with the great outdoors. If you’re on a wedding photo shoot assignment or taking photos of an engaged couple with pets, then taking the time to let your subjects be themselves in parks, gardens, lawns or beaches is the perfect way to capture them! You can also squeeze in some candids of the pets and pet parents, adding charming touches to your photos.

A thing to remember when you have pets to take photos of, the best way is to have them enjoy themselves and be themselves. This will give you more opportunities to capture some amazing photos.


Tweak It: More Ways to Take Natural Photos 

Although pet photos in nature are the perfect way to add some extra charms to your photo session, you can also use urban settings to do the same. For example, if you’re in the city, around the best places, downtown, or any other area the couple love to live in the city, and have a pet, even then the above tip will work like a charm for you. You can find spots with lots of greenery to capture the couple and their pet in the perfect light. What’s more, dressed-up couples, in love, their pets looking right at home despite the urbanesque location and buildings looming in the background, looks just perfect. Well, keeping that in mind, you can find ways to include the subjects and their pets in the photos as well! The outdoors, be it parks, beaches, a place with trees and shrubs, or urban settings, will give you a host of opportunities to take amazing photos.


  1. Use a Low F-stop for Pet Portraits

The first thing to keep in mind is that most people will have common pets, like dogs or cats. However, you may, once in a while, find a pet parent with an unusual pet, like a horse, turtle, or perhaps a goat. So, remember the ideas you’d probably use if you were shooting a dog or a cat, will still apply. However, some other ideas, such as the use of pet photography props may not work. But, pet outfits can still be used.

Now that we have that out of the way, this tip, using low f-stop for pet portraits also works for a wedding photo shoot with pets as well. Low f-stops are also known as low apertures, which allow more light to flow into the camera and the composition. Now, a low aperture setting does not only affect the light but also affects the “depth” of the photo. Shooting with lower f-stops when you’re taking photos of pets or taking photos with the pet parents, then it will help you. What’s more, you can experiment with different levels of “depths” to add more charming touches to your photo shoot. By depth, what we mean is, that lower f-stops help you to blur out the background, not only removing noise from your photos but also making your subject or subjects stand out. You can practice with “depth of field” to add more beauty to your photo sessions.


  1. Using Treats and Toys to your Advantage

If you’re taking photos of pets, then the best cat or dog photography tip to keep in mind is – do not to underestimate the value of toys and treats. Pets have a great affinity for their toys and treats. Besides, pets are usually reinforced to follow instructions to get to the treats and toys. What’s more, for photo shoots, squeaky toys are the most effective. The squeaky noises make the dogs and cats perk up, making them attentive. During your photo session, at a wedding or engagement photo assignment, you can use treats to lure the pets out or get them in order, in case they start acting out or become too excited. And you can use squeaky toys to get their attention, which works great for times when you’re trying to get them to pose. However, the toys and treats will change, depending on the pet your clients have. For example, if you have a couple with a horse, carrots will be your treat!


  1. Do Your Homework

Whether you have a request to take a couple of photos with your family pet, or you have a request for family pet photography, the best way to start is to do your homework. Once you know you’ll be taking photos of a pet along with the couple and their family members, you should consider looking into different ideas and inspirations. Take some time to look through pet photography ideas and create a list of pet photography poses you’d want to try. By the time you start preparing for your photo assignment, you’ll have all the details, including the photo locations, the wedding venue, and the kind of pet your clients have. This will help you plan the timeline for the photos and create a list of shots you’d like to take.


Paw-Friendly Tips to Take Stunning Photos of Pet Dogs! 

Although the ideas and tips for pet photography above have been general, this section will consist of dog-specific photo ideas and tips to help you take photos of the most loved and common pet! Here are some ideas and tips you can use to make your photo shoots look perfect.


  1. Pet and Pet Parent Portraits

If your client is a proud pet parent, you should definitely start by taking portraits! Using lower f-stops will help you take the best portraits of the pet parents! You can also add some drama to your wedding and engagement photos by posing the subjects in an area where light comes across from different angles. You can also use an external light source to illuminate your subjects in a dark room or area for pet parent and dog portrait photography.


  1. Silhouette Photography for Dreamy Photos 

Obviously, wedding photography, and engagement photography too, can be dreamy. With so many emotions, dreamy silhouette photography is a great way to encapsulate your clients’ happiness. And the happiness is doubled if they had their dog join them! You can absolutely use silhouette photography skills to add dreamy touches to your photo shoot. Think of dog photography ideas such as the dog chasing their parents, the couple walking hand-in-hand with their pet dog next to them, or imagine a bride running towards the horizon with her wedding dress train in one hand, the bridal bouquet in another, the groom running towards the same horizon next to the bride, with their fur baby in the center!


  1. Wedding Day Outfits! 

If your clients want you to take photos of their pet or pets dressed up for the wedding and simply enjoy their parents’ wedding, then you can do that with these tips. A great way to include dog photography with wedding details is to capture the pet’s “getting-ready photos,” as you would the bride and groom! What’s more, you can also take photos of the bride and groom’s dogs, if your clients have those, to capture more details. If the pets have cute outfits, remember to capture that. You can take dog portraits as well. Apart from this, you can use the other tips we mentioned above to take better photos!


The Takeaway: Remember This And Your Pet-Friendly Photo Shoot Will Go Smoothly! 

Although tips help you to take the perfect photos of the couple and their pets, you’d need a little more than tips. Apart from the tips, you should consider practicing taking different types of photos and trying out different styles. Also, you can try working with different perspectives, which can add a signature style to your photos, making each photo unique. Lastly, use your free time and off-season to practice styles, experiment with lights, practice with natural light, and take photos of actual animals. Even if you’re not comfortable with animals, if your friends have pets or animals around, trying to take their photos will help you perform better on photo assignments.

Join Our Community

We have more than 2000 members around the world

Join Community

Follow Us

Get the latest news and photo inspiration.