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October 2, 2013

Tips for Photographing Your Pet

Top pet photographers share their advice for making your pet picture perfect

  • Want your pet to look in a certain direction? Try a treat or toy. Robin Layton

  • Sometimes the best photo comes out of snuggling with your pals. Stacy P. Morgan

  • Have a camera handy to catch those unexpected moments. Robin Layton

  • Use natural light to show your pet in her element. Stacy P. Morgan

You know your pet is a star—look at that face, that tail! But how to capture on film the adorable essence of your cat, dog, parakeet, or other fabulous feathered or furry family member?

Help is here: We asked two of our 2012 World Spay Day Pet Photo Contest judges, premier photographers Robin Layton and Stacey P. Morgan, for tips to make it easier for you realize your photographic dreams.

Now get out your camera and have fun with your pets.

Catch them while they're young

Make sure to take tons of photos of your pet when they are puppies or when you first get them. They grow up so fast and you'll realize later that their "baby" photos are your most favorite and cherished photos. —Robin Layton

Get aerobic

Move your feet, bend your knees, lie on your back, climb a chair—anything to achieve a different perspective. Too many pet photographs are taken from the same angle (standing). Come in physically close (don’t just use the zoom lens), get down to their eye level, see what they see. —Stacey P. Morgan

Try a treat

A favorite treat or toy can be helpful if you are shooting a portrait and need to get the pet's attention or to have the pet look into the camera. —Robin Layton

Use natural light

Turn off the flash and use available light. Take your pet outside to play and frolic, capturing pictures in their element. Or shoot inside next to a patch of sunlight streaming through a window. Dogs and cats love to curl-up in the warmth, so take advantage of those quiet, natural moments. You might even find yourself dozing alongside them for a 5 minute power nap. —Stacey P. Morgan

Always have your camera ready

You never know when your pet is going to show that personality or when that "prize" photo can happen! —Robin Layton

Patience is key!

Watch, wait, and hunt for the right time and expression to unfold in front of the camera vs. forcing the dog to look a certain way. This technique reveals the most accurate portrait and true soul. I capture some of my most telling images towards the end of a session, by then I have lost the allure of being new and have become part of the pack.  —Stacey P. Morgan

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