Following my article on pet photography tips where I discussed ways you could capture your pets in their best moments, I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips to help you showcase your pet in the best possible light.
My suggestions will be a mix of themes suitable for outdoor and indoor shoots; both posed and candid. So, let me share my top eight pet photo ideas that I think will be helpful to you.
Add a Human Dynamic
Whether you are shooting professionally, for a friend, or just for yourself, try having both the human and the pet in the frame. The love between a pet and its owner can be palpable, and capturing that connection is a photographer’s dream.
Also, it’s uncanny how pets sometimes resemble their owners. Work with this if it presents itself: the owner’s disheveled hair to complement the dog’s shaggy coat. Or the owner’s striking green eyes to match the cat’s emerald ones.
These little details offer insight into the relationship you are expressing through your lens.
Set Up a Home Studio
Sometimes, you just want something simple. If an outdoor shoot is not an option, you can design your indoor studio using a plain white sheet, some lighting, and your pet’s favorite blanket in the corner of a room.
Use a macro lens to zoom in on the pet’s features. The idea here is that there are no other distracting elements in the photograph other than the subject as the main focal point.
Use the Pet’s Natural Environment
Consider the space where the pet is most comfortable and spends most of its time; for example, a cat on a windowsill or a dog on a grass lawn. When in its natural habitat, so to speak, the pet is likely to be more open to engaging with you and your camera. A relaxed pet often is a willing pet.
Dress Them Up
We’re talking sunglasses, scarf, a Hawaiian shirt: whatever wacky accessory you can find to bring out your pet’s personality. Most of us have fun imagining our pets with human qualities, so this is a fun, creative way to turn that imagination into a reality. A dog behind the wheel of a car, with a cigar in its mouth, while wearing a beret. A cat with a silly party hat and a single red tie. You get the idea…
Work With the Season
During the fall season, you can use fallen leaves in the background. If it’s springtime, use beautiful, fresh flowers. You can also play with water as a prop, and it’s great for creating reflections, too.
Summer is all about the outdoors: the sunny beach or the busy park. Meanwhile, winter is staying indoors by the fire, so think of cozy sweatshirts and scarves. Use the weather’s associated visual elements to capture the mood of your pet, and suggest a connection between the two.
Incorporate Food Into the Shoot
It’s no secret that pets love their food and treats – capitalize on this. Prepare something delicious and irresistible, like a pet-safe spread or store-bought treats.
Capture the moments of them eating: a dog sticking out its tongue to lick the spread off its face or a cat licking its paw to munch on the crumbs you left there. You can also throw the treat into the air and fire the shutter as soon as your pet jumps to catch it.
Go for Action Shots
Most pets won’t stay still. But instead of fighting this, embrace it! I am a big believer in photographing animals in their most spontaneous, most carefree moments. So I suggest using frisbees for your dog or a ball of yarn for your cat to keep them moving and running around.
Go for the Macro Shots
If you’re going for something more dramatic and intimate, I suggest getting up close and personal with your pet. Rather than showing its whole body in action, you can zoom in on its features and let these tiny details captivate viewers. You can take macro shots of its eyes, fur, paws, and underbelly.
From outdoor adventures to indoor moments, from showing off your pet’s true nature to emphasizing its human qualities, you will never run out of pet photo ideas to get you started on your project.
I believe that the best photos happen after you have established that connection.
So start from having an understanding of your beloved pet, get to know its character and personality, and then have fun from there.
Whatever your preferred genre of photography is, I believe there’s always room in your life and in your photos for a few furry friends.