Basic Pet Care

How to Take Better Pet Pictures & Videos

How to Take Better Pet Pictures & Videos

Gather any group of people in a social setting, and more often than not someone will take out a phone to share photos of their dog or cat. To create ooh-and-aah worthy images and videos that capture the character, personality, athleticism or beauty of your pet, consider this advice:


  • Always have your camera or camera phone charged and ready so you don’t miss a great shot
  • Brush your pet before a photo session to remove loose fur, and gently wipe away eye crust
  • Collect props and treats that will make your subject cooperative
  • Choose a setting where the pet likes to hang out, such as on a favorite piece of furniture or window sill
  • Clear the area of clutter to make your pet the focus of the picture
  • Engage a helper to wrangle your pet and get his or her attention
  • Study the work of good pet photographers in books and on Instagram

Perfect Photography

  • Work in good light and avoid harsh shadows. Natural outdoor light or sunlight through a window is best
  • Keep the sun at your back outside and shining on your pet
  • Be patient and take lots of pictures; you can edit later
  • Work with your pet’s personality and try to capture him doing things that he does naturally
  • To get your pet’s attention, use a squeaky toy, a sucking sound or jangle keys — and accept that they will lose their power over time
  • Get your pet to look at the camera and focus on her expressive eyes
  • Avoid using flash. It’s not just unflattering and disturbing to animals, but red-eye can occur
  • Go down to your pet’s level and shoot at that angle
  • Or photograph your pet asleep, looking like a perfect angel
  • Reward your model with petting, toys or treats

Vivid Videography

Many of the same rules and techniques apply to pictures that move. Whether you use the video option in your smartphone, click with a video camera or use a GoPro, these tips can improve your efforts:

  • Have a concept in mind before you get behind the camera. Think of it as a story you want to tell
  • Some ideas: training your pet (you can show progress over time)… Halloween and holiday dress ups… a cat or dog birthday celebration
  • Close ups and emotion draw an audience in; action shots keep their interest
  • Always shoot in landscape (wide), not portrait (vertical) format when using a smartphone
  • Plan to capture action in a safe space and make sure your pet’s microchip information is up to date with
  • Pan the camera to follow your pet running or in motion
  • Pay attention to sound. Your pet should be the focus, not your commands. If there’s unwanted background noise, mute the audio and add music that complements your pet’s personality and the action
  • Turn the tables and let your dog be your videographer, as one couple did, strapping a GoPro camera on their pet to create unique wedding photos. The GoPro Fetch Mount makes it possible to see the world from a dog’s perspective.

After Effects

  • Edit your work so that your most compelling shots survive. There are many free and fee apps available to help you create the look you want
  • Before you upload a photo to Instagram, experiment with its filters
  • Go viral by posting your best work on social media. Who knows, your dog could become an Instagram or YouTube star!
  • Select your best shot and use it to update your pet’s profile photo on