How to Photograph Your Pet

Guidelines While Photographing Your Pet

When you first begin photographing your pet, you want to follow these basic guidelines.

Natural Lighting

First, you want to take them outside to get the best natural lighting possible. Indoor pet shots can often be grainy and have a red-eye effect.

Golden Hours

The best hours to photograph your pets are during the magical golden hours. These are known as the hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset. This is where you still get the benefit of sunlight, but the sun is close to the horizon and giving off a beautiful glow. It is not as harsh as sunlight at noon.

Avoid High Noon

However, if noon is the only available time you have during your busy schedule, take your photographs, but check for areas of your picture that may appear all white. These are blown-out areas of your photograph. It may be necessary to place your pet in the shade and re-shoot if this happens.


The second thing you want to consider is your relationship between you and your pet.

Eye Level

Be sure to wear casual clothing and get down to their eye level. Take the view of the pet and look at the world through their eyes. These photos will be far more engaging than you standing and shooting down at them. However, sometimes, it is too engaging for your pets. When you get on the ground, they may want to come sit on your lap or get in your face. Then they are, obviously, too close.

Tripod, When Necessary

It may be necessary to place only the camera in a low position on something like a table top tripod. If you are able to remotely take a shot or set the timer, it may work to your advantage. Sometimes I like to set the time-lapse feature and play with my pet while the camera does all the work.

Have a Good Time

The whole point is to have a good time taking these images. Have fun with it and get creative with props, such as sunglasses or hats. Don’t forget to take close-ups and additional photos with your pets playing with their favorite toys. In the end, you will have a great group of photos to turn into a photo collage and several more fit for framing.

Paint my Pet

Take it one step further and order a custom digital pet portrait from PEN and INK Magic. Online graphic design services, custom digital pet portraits, and pet illustrations, as well as professional photo touch-ups, photo restoration and photo painting are among the services offered at PEN and INK Magic.

Capture Personality

Which of your images captures the personality of your pet most accurately? Before submitting your favorite image of your pet, be prepared to send additional supporting images as well. Is the pet you have defiant, quirky, or aloof?


Each pet displays their own set of characteristics. Try to describe what characteristics stand out for you. I am quite fond of the sassy, but funny, pets with plenty of attitudes. They always have that, “Are you looking at me?” grin on their faces. How about the look that says, “I didn’t do anything wrong,” or, the jealous, “How come he gets to do everything and I don’t?” look.





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