Animal photography 101.
Pet owners love their animals. And that love fuels the exciting, and potentially lucrative, pet photography business. Whether it’s a group shot of family members, including the cat, or an animal portrait of a beloved dog, owners want pet photos that go beyond smartphone snaps. But taking great portrait photography has plenty of challenges, including how to get a pet to sit still and look at the camera. The short answer is practice, patience, and creativity — and an abiding love of animals doesn’t hurt. With those skills, and some advice from professional pet photographers in your back pocket, you’ll be a few steps closer to photo sessions that lead to your best pet shots yet.
Successfully working with furry friends.
While many aspects of portrait and headshot photography — like lighting, use of backdrops, and some basic camera settings — apply to pet photography sessions, the biggest difference is of course the subjects you’re working with.
Find ways to gain experience with animals.
“When I’m working with trainers, they don’t have to worry that I’m going to freak out the animals,” explains Carli Davidson, the author of the dog photography books Shake and Shake Puppies, about her years working in zoos. “Having that background set me up to be a stronger animal photographer because I know how to direct my models in a way that many people don’t.” Acquiring years of zoo experience might not be viable for every aspiring pet photographer, but building rapport with the animals being photographed is a process you can practice on your own pets or by politely asking dog owners at your local coffee shop.