How to take great pictures of your pet

3 min read

If you are on Instagram you probably know of @thedogist. With over 3.5 million followers, it’s one of the most popular dog photo accounts on Instagram and possibly on the web. People from all walks of life seem to love the Dogist’s photos of dogs being themselves, and many are being inspired to create similar accounts for themselves and their pets.

Whether you want to have a pet influencer in the family or not, we know that one of the most fun aspects of having a pet is creating memories with them. Whether you are home cuddling on the couch, at the park or traveling to another city – capturing those whimsical moments with our best buds is an urge that most pet parents will own up to! That said, not all of us have fancy cameras or training to take pet photos. So we thought we would share some tips for taking memorable pics of your pet. If you think of more tips or ideas we would love to hear them, please share in the comments below.

Take many photos

This one is pretty obvious, and probably unnecessary. But if you have ever held back from taking pictures you must get over it ASAP. There are simply no bad pet photos! So start taking those pics. You can always use filters on Instagram or apps on your phone to enhance them later. Our favorite app for tweaking images is VSCO. Many of the filters are free and it can be really fun to play with.

Consider the perspective

If you look at photos on The Dogist’s Instagram feed, you’ll see that nearly every photo has the dog centered and in focus. This can take some practice since keeping our pets still during photography can be tricky. If you have tried and failed, don’t worry. The Dogist himself advises against formulaic photography. One good way to do this is to be ready to grab a picture wherever you end up going. You can test different shots and backgrounds to see what appeals the most to you.

Keep your pet’s age in mind

A puppy photo shoot is going to be a bit different from photographing an older dog. The best tip for photographing a puppy is to be infinitely patient and set up your camera to take shots from different angles. Or you may want to tire them out with a play session beforehand. With older dogs, treats and commands work best. But you may consider letting them off-leash in a dog park or offer a new toy to get a different kind of shot. Always take multiple pictures in a row because a perfect one may be lurking in there. You can always delete the duds later!

Avoid the unhappy medium

If you take a standard, medium-range photo, you’re going to get a pretty dull shot that doesn’t capture your pet’s expression fully. Instead, get in close and let your pal fill in the shot. If you use a Nikon camera or something similar, consider purchasing a lens made specifically for closeup and macro photos, like the AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D. You’ll capture a level of detail you can’t get with a standard lens.. And if you are like us and you photograph your pet with your smartphone, you can actually find clip-on macro filters. Alternately, try a wide shot from your pet’s perspective. Going wide highlights just how big everything looks from your furry friend’s shorter vantage point.

Flatter their fur

Pet travel photos often take place outside, and that means you don’t have complete control over backgrounds and lighting. Depending on these setting aspects, the color of your dog’s fur can make a big difference in the quality of the photos you take. In most cases, you want them to stand out against the background rather than fading into it. And that means employing a filter that controls the contrast. According to experienced nature photographer Darwin Wiggett, if you get only one lens filter for your outdoor pet photos, it should be a polarizer. This kind of camera filter will reduce glare and enrich the colors in your photo, allowing both highlights and shadows to be seen in detail. Smartphone editing “filters” just aren’t going to provide the same quality. Fortunately, if you use your phone for photos, you can also purchase external polarizing lens filters that snap onto your phone.

Earn the shot

While you’re concentrating on getting a photo, don’t forget why you’re doing this. Lay down on the grass or the rug, roll over and play, have fun with them, and get them into a great mood. It will make the photo so much better when both you and your pet are enjoying the process. Okay, enough said. Now go take some pics!

And when you post your pics on IG, use the #petmindedtravel and tag us @petminded so we can follow along as well!