Pet photography: how to take great photos of your dog

Pet photography is an increasingly popular way to capture the unique personalities of our beloved pets, as well as the bond we share with them.

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Have you ever wondered how to take great photos of your dog? The world of pet photography is filled with joy, spontaneity, and endless opportunities, but it can also be a lot of work trying to get the best shot of an overly excited and energetic pooch!

Pet photographer Vanessa recently took photos of the Animal Friendly Life team’s paw-family. We share her advice and tips for pet parents on how to take great photos of dogs.

Vanessa turned her passion for animals into a career capturing people’s beloved pets to create lasting memories for them. 

“Animals brings so much happiness and love to so many people and families,” she says. “These days our furry companions are more like family members than pets.”

The fact our pets have a much shorter lifespan is a key reason Vanessa is so passionate about creating lasting memories for pet parents.

“I think it’s so important to capture beautiful moments and memories that we can keep with us forever.

“And to remind us of what they brought to us in that particular chapter of our lives.”

Vanessa’s creates beautiful memories for pet parents (image: Ness Masina Photography)

What makes a pet photography session special? Vanessa says it’s the unpredictability and fun that each session brings. 

“There is only so much you can plan for or stage when photographing animals,” she says.

“For the most part it’s unpredictable, crazy and fun!”

Behind the scenes: Vanessa in action on the day of our shoot (image: Michelle Minehan)

Although sessions are almost impossible to plan, one thing that’s guaranteed is capturing the animal’s authentic personalities. 

“There is never an element of “self-consciousness” with animals,” says Vanessa.

“So, you always capture their genuine personalities and quirky traits – which is exactly what pet owners want to have memories of. “

  • Always have treats handy if you want to get them looking at the camera
  • Try to keep your surroundings as distraction free as possible – all attention on you!
  • Get on their level. Sit on the ground or lay down and get some photos from a “pets-eye view”
  • Use their favourite toy to get them in a playful, fun mood 
  • Jump in for a selfie! Capture the connection between you and your pet, they make the best memories.

Are you passionate about capturing the unique personalities of pets through
photography? Whether you’re a budding photographer or a seasoned professional,
honing your skills in pet photography can be incredibly rewarding.
Here are five must-read books to help guide you in mastering the art of pet photography:

  • Pet Photography: The secrets to creating authentic pet portraitsby Norah Levine – This book is perfect for learning how to capture the essence of pets in portraits, with tips on working with different animals and creating stunning compositions.
  • Beautiful Beasties: A creative guide to modern pet photography’ by Jamie Pflughoeft – A comprehensive guide that covers everything from basic techniques to advanced editing, specifically tailored for pet photography.
  • The photographer’s guide to posing: Techniques to flatter everyone’ by Lindsay Adler – While not solely about pets, this book offers essential posing techniques that can be adapted to make pets look their best.
  • Dogtography: A knock-your-socks-off guide to capturing the best dog photos on earth’ by Kaylee Greer – Specially geared towards dog lovers, this book provides insider tips from a professional pet photographer.
Cover of pet photography book Finding Home: a beautiful book with photos and stories of shelter dogs who have been adopted

So, whether you’re using a professional camera or your smartphone, these tips from Vanessa can help you create lasting memories of your beloved pets. 

Happy snapping!

Make sure you leave a comment if you have any other pet photography tips or hacks!

(And finally, here’s a couple more adorable snaps of models Banjo and George from our shoot with Vanessa!)

Follow her pet photography page on Instagram @NessMasina_photography is a participant in affiliate programs. This means that when you click on links to various products on this site and make a purchase, we could receive a commission. We only recommend products and services that we believe will add value to our readers.