ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ten Expert Tips For Taking Great Pet Photographs

Updated on May 2, 2012

Pet Photography by Edward Fielding

Copyright by Edward Fielding
Copyright by Edward Fielding | Source
Copyright by Edward Fielding
Copyright by Edward Fielding | Source
Copyright by Edward Fielding
Copyright by Edward Fielding | Source

How to Shoot Dogs

I shoot dogs for a living. Wait! Before you turn me into PETA let me assure you that the shooting I do is harmless. No pet has ever been harmed by my sort of shooting. Its all done with a camera you see -- I take portraits of pets and sell them to advertisers, calendars, book publishers and greeting card companies via the microstock agency Dreamstime. I also take custom commissions from pet owners who want portraits of their pets to hang on the wall. Working with hundreds of dogs over the years, I've learned a trick or two about pet photography. Here are some tips.

  1. Timing - A pet will only perform for you when its in the right mood. No use in trying to photograph and amped up dog when they are excited. Take them outside of the studio and walk them, play fetch with them, get them tired out before attempting a photoshoot.
  2. Pre-Planning - have your sets and props and ideas laid out well before your model shows up to have their portrait done. If you are not ready, you subject certainly won't be.
  3. Squeakers - Getting your subject into position is one thing but getting that special expression out of them is and entirely different thing. Most dogs don't know the word "smile" or "say cheese", you'll need to have a bunch of different noise makers on hand to squeak at the right moment to get a good expression. You can also your mouth and try high or low pitched sounds.
  4. Licks - Licks can be encouraged with a bit of peanut butter or vegetable oil on the lips.
  5. Lighting - You can test out your lighting by using a stuffed animal. Take a few test shots before the dog arrives and get you lighting figured out before using the stand in.
  6. Clean up - Before taking the photos, inspect your subject for tears, dirt, flea, crumbs etc. You can removes some of these distracting elements in post production using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom or other photo editing software but save yourself some time and clean up your subject before shooting.
  7. Take lot of breaks - give the dog a treat after each session and let them relax. Even human models need a break from hot and/or flashing lights. Soon your subject will associate the flashing lights as a way to earn a reward.
  8. Turn down the lights - If you can, turn down your studio flash and increase the aperture on your camera so that you can minimize the blinding flash of the studio light and make the experience more pleasant for your pet.
  9. Put them on a pedestal - Some pets will stay put better if you lift them up high on a stool or counter top. Just watch out if they are determined to jump down from their high perch.
  10. Give them lots of room - Conversely you can give your subject lots of room to wander around and get some more candid shots. Just be sure to have a wide background in place and a large general lighting set up. Encourage your pet into the "studio" area by dropping treat where you want the dog to go or by making them "sit" and "stay".

Remember to have fun and if its not working many pet parents will understand and be willing to come back another time to try again.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)