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8 Tips for Taking Great Pet Photos

Learn the the tricks and tips for taking amazing pet photos with advice from expert photographer Andy Katz.

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Create an Effect of Movement

Shoot at a slow shutter speed while holding the camera still so the background is still but your pet is in motion. If you’re not using a tripod, keep image stabilization on to keep the background sharp.

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Take a Lot of Great Photos To Get One Great Shot

With the large memory cards in modern digital cameras, “Pixels are free”, says photographer Andy Katz, so keep shooting your pet and sort through the shots later to find the best. When shooting animals, you’ll have a better chance of capturing special photos if you take lots of shots.

(Photo by Andy Katz, courtesy of

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Beautiful Light Makes for Beautiful Photos

The best light is early in the morning and late afternoon, it has a warmer colour and creates more interesting shadows than at noon. If you are shooting at noon, place your pet in shade or shadow for prettier light and more image detail. Flashes look unnatural, so try to stay with natural light sources, use a slower shutter speed if necessary and follow our tips for shooting in low light. Notice how the shade really brings out the color and texture of the fur.

(Photo by Andy Katz, courtesy of

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Use Colour If it Adds to the Photo, and Use B&W for Detail

Always set your camera to shoot your pet in colour and then decide later whether colour ads to the photo. If not, try removing the colour through your photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, to accentuate the details. Though the photo on the left is not technically a pet, it’s a great example of where texture and lighting is more important than colour.

(Photo by Andy Katz, courtesy of

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Shoot RAW to Get All the Details

A RAW file contains all of the information captured by your camera’s sensor. When your camera converts an image to a JPEG, it compresses the image and some data is lost. It’s better to keep the files RAW and convert them to JPEG after you have finished editing or cropping them.

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Use Selective Focus to Change the Mood

Choosing whether to place your pet in focus or the foreground/background can completely change the mood of the photo. Try it both ways and see which image you prefer.

(Photo by Andy Katz, courtesy of

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Highlight the Eyes

Find a shot that creates highlights in your pet’s eyes. If the eyes look good, your pet will look good. Look at the photo to the left. Your eyes are drawn to the dog’s eyes and there’s a vibrancy that you wouldn’t get if the highlights weren’t there.

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Let Your Pet be a Pet

Don’t get caught up in having your pet pose for a photo. First of all, given that they’re animals, pets don’t listen very well and you’re likely to get frustrated. Secondly, letting your pet act like a pet will give you more natural photos that capture your pet’s true character.