8 Tips for Pawsitive Photo Sessions

Have you ever wondered how pet photographers capture those candid, playful poses so that the picture comes to life in front of your eyes? Pet photography is a very particular niche... the dogs and cats run the show, but a great pet photographer knows how to capture the spirit and beauty of your furry pal forever. So, Spike and Fluffy, the next time your mom and dad schedule your photo session, ask them to follow these tips to make everybody smile!

© Poppyblue Photography

1. Hire someone who specializes in pet photography. Yes, they exist!

© Jessica Luce Photography

He or she should have experience working with animals and be able to bring out their unique personality and beauty. Great pet photographers know how to engage with pets and capture your favorite companions in a way that will make you smile. Ideally, you want to hire a PPA (Professional Photographers of America) pet photographer. PPA photographers have the training, experience, artistic eye and equipment to produce gallery-quality portraits. PPA pet photographers will not only provide you with images that you never thought possible, but will shoot with color and composition in mind. Plus, they will take care of fine tuning your images: removing eye bugs, the leash from the photo, people in the background, and enhancing fur details and colors.

2. Patience and flexibility!

© Kristin Adams Photography

Pets run the show so a session can take over two hours if your pet is not cooperative. Let the photographer get comfortable with your furry friends so that he or she can do whatever’s needed to photograph your pet. Pros will often get down on the ground with camera in one hand and your pet’s favorite toys in the other to capture that perfect shot! Also make sure that the photographer has a pet-friendly studio or is willing to drive to your home or the location you want your pet photographed in. This is for your convenience as much as to ensure your pet will find a friendly environment that will create the best possible conditions for your pet’s photo session.

3. The puppy or kitten stage is very short.

© Poppyblue Photography

Those playful, cuddly puppies and kittens will change as if before your eyes – blink, and you could miss it! You’ll want to capture those moments so that you will be able to remember them when your furry pal becomes an adult and eventually a senior. This is the sweetest and most innocent phase of your pet’s life, so the sooner you immortalize it in photography, the better. That time won’t last and most people wish they had some memorabilia of these sweet days. Don’t miss that opportunity!

4. Cherish the moments and capture your pet’s unique life.

© Share the Joy Photography

The unconditional love you receive from these wonderful creatures is only for a short time. So before it’s too late, capture those precious moments of your loyal companion with photographs. Many people today book “rainbow sessions” for pets that are nearing the end of life due to old age or an illness. It’s great to get those photo opportunities in before it’s too late, but why not take photos of your furry pal every couple of years when he or she is still strong and healthy? That way when they do pass, you’ll have something to illustrate their whole life.

5. Pet photography can become a piece of art.

© Crossroads Photography

Pet photographers work many different angles to capture your pet’s unique personality. Imagine the action shots, the cute poses and expressions framed perfectly on your wall, at larger than life proportions.

6. Scheduling.

© Share The Joy Photography

Pets convey many characteristics. From a lazy cat yawning to a playful puppy, your photographer should always schedule your sessions according to your pet’s personality. If you have a wild puppy or kitten, schedule your session when you know your pet will be tired out. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your pet is lazy, this could be great for capturing close-up shots. It’s imperative for a professional photographer to capture your pet’s true essence! It’s what will make your photographs so endearing.

7. Indoor & Outdoor Light.

© Share the Joy Photography

Professional photographers know how to use light to make your pet look their best whether it is in their studio, in your home or backyard, or at your favorite park. They have the expertise, artistry and equipment to beautifully light and capture the unique features of your pet. Worried that your black dog will look like a blob or your white dog will have no detail in their coat? No need to worry with a pro! Whether they use natural light, location flashes or studio strobes, pros know how to use light to show detail in your dog's fur and make them look their best.

8. The eyes are the windows to the soul.

© Kim Hartz Photography

A great professional pet photographer will always capture photographs of your pet’s eyes. Look for plenty of images showing pets’ eyes when viewing photographers’ portfolios. It truly is amazing to see their beautiful eyes full of expression!