Pretty as a Picture: Tips for Taking Great Pet Portraits

Pretty as a Picture: Tips for Taking Great Pet Portraits

preparing to take photo of dog

When it comes to snapping beautiful pet portraits, most of our animal companions aren’t all that cooperative. You may have lucked out once or twice, but for most of us – blurred images or pics of a pet’s hind quarters may be the best we can do.

There are some tricks to taking spectacular portraits, however, without spending a fortune on a professional photographer.

Eight Tips for Professional Looking Pet Portraits

Before we get into the tips, one of the best ways to get that picture perfect portrait out of your pet is to be prepared to catch him or her being natural. This may mean keeping the iPhone or digital camera close because those special moments are almost always spontaneous (and make for the best shots).

  1. Make use of basic commands – For Fido, ‘roll over’ or ‘shake’ can magically turn a dull portrait into a cute one, as well as provide some focus on you and the camera.
  2. Up close and personal – Macro lenses or zooming in on a close-up can capture subtle nuances of your pet’s face, such as an intent expression or those beautiful baby blues.
  3. Be stealth – If your pet simply isn’t the seated portrait type, try sneaking up on him or her during while playing with a favorite toy or looking out the window. You can also introduce something new and interesting to get that action shot you’ve been aiming for.
  4. Enlist the help of others – If you do want that great expressive portrait, you may wish to ask for some assistance from a friend or family member. While being distracted by the squeaky toy or a feather on a string provided by your assistant, you can take advantage of those intent and photogenic gazes. And, if you don’t have an assistant, you can try the BarkCam app for all of those photo worthy bells and whistles.
  5. Use natural light – Bright studio lighting or the flash on your camera can disrupt your pet’s sense of comfort and end up creating an unnatural look. Opt for morning or late afternoon sunlight or soft lighting.
  6. Work with your pet’s coat color – Obviously, a black cat in a dimly lit area or a white dog against a stark drop cloth won’t show much detail in a photograph. Consider various backgrounds or shading that accentuate your pet’s natural coloring and tone.
  7. Avoid meal or nap times – The more alert and playful your pet is, the more receptive he or she will be to interaction. Schedule your photo ops around the times of day when your pet is most relaxed, yet awake.
  8. Have fun with it – If you begin to get frustrated, your pet will pick up on this and also become tense or restless. Take a break if you feel less than patient and resume later – plan on several photo sessions rather than forcing something that won’t work for either of you.

Whether beautiful or comical, pet photos make most of us pet lovers smile. They are also a wonderful way to capture good times and heartwarming memories with your pet companion.

So, smile for the camera and say “cheese”! The Schertz Animal Hospital team can’t wait to see your finished portraits. You can even share some with us on our Facebook page.

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!