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My 5 fave tips to get better pet photos

Updated: Mar 20, 2019

As a cat shelter owner and pet owner myself, I spend a lot of time with my furry babies each day. And for me there’s nothing more enjoyable than taking photos of them during play time or just even in their ‘chillax’ (chill+relax) mood. Most of the time though I don’t have my big bulky camera to capture those funny and cute moments. And so I capture them with the camera in my pocket, my smart phone! The photos you will see here were all taken with my smartphone. Previously, I had the Samsung S5 and now I am using Huawei Mate 9. But any smartphone model nowadays will do the job, cameras in in them are just getting better and better. So, let me share with you my 5 fave, easy peasy, no-techy tips so you can also capture adorable photos of your lovely pets.

1. Lighting is always number 1 in the list.


This is the very basic component in any photography. Find a very good natural light coming through the window if you are inside the house. Outdoors, look for an open shaded area like under a big tree, covered porch or gazebo as you also don’t want harsh light on their faces unless you are trying to capture them in activity, like running or jumping. This will be your main source of light especially if you have dark-furred pets. You will get more fur details and whiskers on those photos if you expose them properly. So, it is easier to photograph them during the day. In this photo, Lupin the cat is sitting next to the screen door, providing a large, soft light source.

2. Get down on their level

You’d be surprised at the detail you can capture when you get down on the ground with your pet. And this is applicable whatever device or camera you have, DSLR/point&shoot or camera phone.

photographing Rio

Doing this will also help reduce anxiety and increase their comfort level, and your photos will show a bit of what it’s like to live in their world. You can kneel down, sit on the ground, or even lay your belly on the grass so you can be eye level with your pet.

3. Focus on their eyes

You will get better portraits when you focus on the eyes, even in human portraiture. We, photographers, always look at the eyes first when we view a pet portrait because pet's eyes are incredibly expressive.

So, you are on their eye level on the ground... On your smartphone, tap the pet's eye closest to your phone to refocus your camera's lens. If you are on auto-mode, you will notice a change in focus and exposure. Some smartphones nowadays have manual mode feature in them where you can also manually change the exposure or brightness, shutter speed, aperture and ISO but that's for another article if you want to learn more in detail. Once you locked that eye focus, SNAP SNAP SNAP!!!

4. Reward your models!


I cannot stress this enough. Whenever they do a good job, I always reward my pets with praises, love rubs and treats!!! Well, I also use treats to get them to focus on the camera. Do this repeatedly and you will get your pets to look at the camera every time since they will associate this activity with the happy experience.

5. Practice! Practice! Practice!

I am a solid believer of this saying...'Practice makes perfect!' This has made me a better photographer and better in whatever I do. Practicing will help you familiarize the features of your camera or smartphone. When you practice, you encounter different situations and you will learn how to handle it next time. You get to take note of it mentally.

So what are you waiting for? Practice these easy tips to get you started and have fun photographing your fur babies! Let me know if you have questions on this topic, I would love to hear from you. Don't forget to share your photos when you get success on getting that purrfect shot or pawsome pawtrait! I would love to see them! Send them via email (, share on our facebook page or tag us in facebook or instagram (@friskypawtraits).


DISCLAIMER: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support the site and allows us to continue to post articles like this. Thank you for the support!

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