Say “Treats!” Tips for Taking Great Pet Photos

We’ve all grabbed the camera and taken a quick picture when we see our pets do something cute. But how do you take that special photograph of your dog or cat, one that shows them at their best? We asked professional San Diego pet photographer Allison Shamrell of Allison Shamrell Pet Photography for some advice.

Allison and Bailey

              Allison and Bailey

An experienced pet photographer and student of animal psychology and body language, Allison believes in the importance of highlighting your pet’s unique beauty and personality. Here are Allison’s top pet photography tips, using her work as examples:


  1. Get on their level! Shooting close to the ground from your pet’s perspective makes your pictures more interesting.


  1. Look for the light. The best place to take pictures, especially action shots, is outdoors. If you stay inside, make sure you uncover all windows for the best natural light.


  1. Make it fun for your pet! Your pets will look their best when they are happy, so don’t forget to incorporate play and treats into your photo session.
  2. Tucker him out first! Take your dog for a walk before a session so that he will expend some energy and be more willing to sit for the camera.


  1. Look for the details. Focus on an interesting part of your pet’s body, such as ears, tail and paws, or zoom in for a close shot of your pet’s fur.


  1. Know your camera. Whether you’re using your phone or a high-end camera, get to know your camera’s features and experiment with different settings.


  1. Take plenty of photos. Getting that perfect shot takes work, even for professionals, so don’t be discouraged if your first pictures are disappointing…keep snapping away!
  2. Ask for help. Grab a friend or family member to help out with your photo session. Another person makes it easier to wrangle treats and leashes, and also to help get your pet’s attention.
  3. Keep the background simple. Busy, distracting backgrounds (indoors or outdoors) take the focus away from your pet. Try a session in your backyard instead of a crowded dog park.


10. Take your time. It takes time for all of the elements of a good pet photo to come together.   You can plan on spending at least 10-15 minutes on your photo session, so relax and enjoy spending time with your best friend!