Tips For Pet Photography

Tips for pet photographyThis next photography article is near and dear to my heart! My pets are some of my very favorite subjects to photograph. Jeremy and I melt over old photos of our pug so I try to take as many as possible of our new dachshund. It’s not always easy to photograph (hyper) animals but here are a few tips that might help… 1 Use Treats1. Use Treats. (Duh, right?) This is the easiest trick in the book! Just grab your pets favorite treat (or toy) and hold it directly above or beside your lens. I took this photo of Dolly today and it took me 20 photos to get one good one because she was jumping around so much… worth it, though! Without the treat I probably wouldn’t have gotten a usable photo.2 Use Props2. Use Props. This photo of my mom’s pug, Gigi, was taken on the day we brought her home. I grabbed a salad bowl from my kitchen table and set her in it. Brand new puppies are a little bit more calm I don’t think I could get either of my (older) dogs to sit on a bowl now! Work with what you have a try different props until something works.3 Dress Up3. Dress Up. Cheesy as it may be, animals in costumes are ADORABLE. I love costumes and the more your pets wear them, the less they will mind them. Here’s an iPhone pic of Dolly stealing my glasses…

Photo4 Face The Window4. Use Window Light When taking an indoor photo of your pet be sure to turn OFF your flash and use natural light. We’ve all seen photos of dogs and cats with “devil eyes” which are caused by using an on-camera flash. Turn your flash off for a much nicer image! If you are low on light guide your pet near a window. Position your back to the window with your pet in front of you (facing the window). Most of my favorite indoor photos of my puppies were taken using this method.5 Pose with your pet5 Pose with your pet 5. Pose With Your Pet When you are in the photo with your pet there will automatically be more personality, even when your face isn’t shown. I think it highlights the family aspect of having a pet. Photos where you are snuggling, playing or sleeping will be treasured memories that you will keep! I hope these tips inspire you to take more photos of your furry friends this week. xo. elsie

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Photo Credits: All photos by Elsie Larson except the first image is Kelli Trontel and the last image is Janae Hardy

  • Pets are so fun to photograph (even though i don’t have any of my own), and yes, treats are a good key!! 🙂

    and cute dogs! wish the boyfriend didn’t have allergies.

  • love love your DIY. would you and your sweet group do an Easter egg tree? i would love to see your spin on it.

  • The words “go” and “outside” are usually pretty good at grabbing my dog’s attention hah!

    Also, I am officially obsessed with your photo garland over the bed!

  • this is my favorite post of your’s to date! this is really saying something considering how much i admire your blog. as a owner of three cats (one deaf, one one eared and mostly blind, and another crazo), i’m always up for some animal appreciation.
    plus, i just started my own blog just three days ago! animal photography is just what it needs! i have posted a portrait i did of my long hair in formal star trek attire.
    the blog itself is still pretty rough (html is blowing my mind. so simple but so annoying) but i’ve been posting and will have a regular feature, anatomy and physiology wednesday (i need a catchier title) up tomorrow after class.
    Come visit me at

  • Oh my gosh, that first pic is utterly adooorable, I love how you can see the blur of her tail wagging! I’m obsessed with taking pictures of my cat; he’s easily my favorite subject to photograph. Pet pictures are the best!

  • these are great tips! & you have really cute pets! i will definitely need to put these to practice! 🙂

  • Love your little corner of the blogosphere (oh dear, is that term still relevant?), been following for ages. All your tips are quite fantastic. I can never get a good shot of my pets…because they’re rats!

  • So, I know he’s not my dog any more (when I moved out of my brother’s house, he claimed the dog. It was horrible)… but Archie is the BEST at taking pictures. Sometimes when he’s hyper, he will whine at the camera because it freaks him out. But if I tell him to sit and smile for the camera, he usually does! It’s the funniest thing! And really convenient. No bribery necessary. He just likes being congratulated and told he’s a good boy. That reminds me, I better go dognap that little guy again, since I’m in a house without a landlord looking over my shoulder. Woo hoo! 🙂

  • I didn’t realize you named your doxi Dolly! that was actually the name of the doxi we had growing up, she was the sweetest! And yours is so adorable!

    Great tips! so funny – I was just thinking I should take some more pictures of my baby:) (and by ‘baby’ of course I mean my pup!)

  • What a sweet and beautiful post. I love the shout out to animal appreciation!

    Keep the good stuff coming

  • i like seeing your pet photos elsie! even though i don’t have pets, i’m always taking photos of others furry friends. those tips will help. thanks! 🙂

  • thanks for the great tips! i have 2 doxies (a smooth and a wire)! so your new addition is near and dear to my heart. im always trying to get a good pic of one, let alone them together.

  • I am so glad that you posted this! You take the most adorable pictures of your pups! This was super cute, and helpful!

  • Pets are so fun to photograph but it’s so hard to get them to stop spazing out!! Great tips I’ll have to try the treat thing next time 😉 <3

  • Sooo cute! Thanks for these tips. My mini dachshund is such a wiggle worm, it is tough to get good shots some times.

  • I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it! This is one of my favourite posts so far but I’m sure I’ll find many more in the archives I’ve missed. =)

  • Love these ideas! I have a 4.5 lb chihuahua/min-pin who is next to impossible to shoot because he’s such a little monster! Using a treat might be just the trick! 🙂

  • I don’t know why, but I never thought of using treats. That is genius! I love this post so much.

  • These are great tips thank you! I have just moved near family who have an adorable dog, I will definitely try these out 🙂

    Stacie xo
    Curious Damsel

  • My dog is so camera shy these days. If he sees me pick up my camera he will leave the room. He has somehow worked out that my ipad too has a camera and does the same. I think he’s just over having photos taken of him, but he lets me get the rare one in now and then!

  • this is ridiculously adorable! I love it! How did you possibly pull this off without looking like a crazy cat lady slash ya know what I mean hah. wonderful and lovely.

  • Great tips as always, thanks Elsie… Talking about pet photography, I just found out about maddie on things(, you should check it out, it cracked me up!

  • Such a lovely post, I’ll be using these tips for my cats this evening.. esp now I know how to avoid devil eyes!

  • that picture of your pug with a pumpkin hat is totally adorable!

    and i love the last picture. looks so cozy!

  • Wow I’ve been wondering what breed Dolly was. I’ve never seen a Dachshund in that colouring but I guess German breeders tend to stick to the typical ones.
    In other news, your pups are adorable! ^^

  • Fabulous tips, Elsie! That first picture is just adorable. My favourite ever pet photography tip is to get down on their level- so simple, but it makes such a difference!

  • Thank you so much for this tute, its really helpful! I have a wonderful camera and wonderful pets but could never get them to mix! haha!

    Oh and your dogs are beautiful! 🙂


  • The weather has certainly warmed over the last two weeks and so I like abandoning my car and walking the short distances to the village shops. Everywhere I turn I can smell meat on a grill especially on weekends. Dressing for that summer barbecue can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. It all comes down to practicality and comfort as you are dressing for the outdoors.

  • pumpkin pup, aww so cute! i m so happy you are leading at the homies, yay!

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  • Thanks for the tips. We’ve just got a new puppy so are taking photos like crazy. But trying to keep him still is almost impossible. Maggie xx

  • I also think it’s a good practice to “get on their level,” as you have done here with yours without saying it. Photos from a standing adult’s POV of an animal on the ground aren’t as interesting as those that are eye level with the pet (kinda like with kids, too). The straight-on nose shots are so much sweeter than photos of the top of a dog’s head!

  • I love this article! We just adopted a 3 year old Irish Wolfhound mix and getting photos of him or our other dog has proved impossible! I’m definitely going to try using some kind of prop, but I don’t know how it’ll work with a dog that big!

  • Q: Also, what lens do you usually use for pet portraits?
    A: Usually a 35mm lens (I have a posts about all the lenses we use coming very soon!) 😀

    Q: The black ones in the photo, where did you find those?!
    A: They’re Harajuku Lovers from last spring. You can find them online for cheap! I wore a red pair in my wedding. 😀

  • Another tip would be to get lower. Don’t shoot them from above, or you will be miss their great expressions. Go low.

  • I too am guilty of taking way too many photos of our pups, but it is so fun and you can capture their little personalities! Elsie, your new dachshund is adorable!

  • Hi Elise,

    Love your blog! It would be great if you could share some basic photography tips, like how to light, focus and expose your images. P.s. your dogs are so cute!

  • My greyhound has the same jammies that your pug is wearing in the last photo! This a great topic to post on. The camera roll of my iPhone is probably 70% full of photos of my cats and dog (probably like many of your other readers).

  • Any tips for dogs that are scared of cameras?! My hound mix is terrified of the lens when it moves.

  • Thanks for the tips. Taking photos of my cat, Auggie, is one of my biggest obsessions in life. He’s just so darn cute, I can’t get enough photos!

  • i like your all per shoots especially of bulldog..its ma favorite dog
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  • Great tips, and of course, I love these pictures because they feature my two favorite dog breeds, dachshunds and pugs!

  • Aside from humans, animals can be good models as well. One might wonder, taking these shots might be a bit challenging since you have to study your pet’s behavior and be prepared with their every move. An outdoor shot with your pet would make a fascinating photograph as well.

  • Just loving this photo tips series, Elsie. I think I’ve favourited each one so far in my reader 😀 Am going to have to go back and download them to keep as a little reference file for when I’m planning a photoshoot! All so cute and useful. Love them!

  • These will definitely come in handy for shooting my Vizsla puppy…though right now she’s so hyper it’s impossible for her to sit still!

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  • Dolly reminds me so much of my Roxi pup!! They look so much alike. Roxi is a dapple dachshund too but she’s long haired. I love seeing pics of Dolly!! Roxi NEVER lets me get a good photo. She jumps around like a maniac and all I get are pics filled with motion *smh* Thanks for the tips!! 🙂

  • I just came across your blog via pinterest, and I love it! I have 2 mini dachshunds and a Westie, and of course I was drawn to your mini dapple, Dolly. She is precious. I am from St. Louis and couldn’t help but notice your husband’s Cardinals shirt. I have never seen that one before. Could you tell me possibly where it’s from?

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