How to Take Swoon-Worthy Pet Portraits

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Video tutorial to take amazing pet portraits

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3 techniques to nail the perfect pet photos

Learn how to take pet portraits the easy way!

Pet owners love to take photos of their pets- but few know how to take pet portraits that are actually great photos!

Whether it’s for your own pets or for a client, pet portraits can be super fun and cute, but also leave you pulling your hair out. Pets typically are the hardest to photograph, apart from children.

The good news is that the photographers at Mango Street Youtube channel have shared these easy to apply tips to capture the perfect pet photos!

Tips for getting those perfect pet shots!

Pets aren’t exactly known for their ability to concentrate or sit still. And as they generally would rather be doing anything else but pose for your camera, these shoots are often not quick or easy. 

Here are some helpful tips to help you plan and run pet portrait shoots well and keep your sanity in the process.


How to Take Pet Portraits Tip #1: The Outfit

First thing to decide is what Season or Theme are you going for with this shoot. This will help you lock in everything else Specifically if you want the pet to wear an outfit or costume and what that might be.

Don’t force a pet into something they are not comfortable wearing. You will really struggle to keep them settled and keep the costume on and intact. 

Treats are great for motivation and also to associate positive association to the costume.

Let the pet get comfortable with the idea. Some pets will put on just about anything you give them, but others not so much.

For those less keen, let the pet have some time to sniff and smell the outfit and get comfortable with it before you start putting it on them. 

Taking pet portraits is fun with cute outfits!

How to Take Pet Portrits Tip #2: Location, Location, Location

The next thing to decide is where do you want to have the shoot? 

For indoor shoots, setting up a cloth or a paper background tends to work well. You can position the pet on the ground or on an elevated surface like a stool or chair – just make sure the surface itself looks nice in the photo on it’s own. 

You can have the colour of the backdrop work with your pet’s colour and the costume as well as go with the theme you have in mind. 

If you go with an Outdoor shot, look for a location that will work well with your theme. The goal here is that the scene for your photo will not just look great but will also reinforce your theme. 

For an Autumn-themed shoot, finding a place filled with maple trees that has their leaves turning orange and red is a great idea.

When deciding on your location, think through your pet’s fur color. What background would help their colours pop? Green grass? Grey road asphalt? 

The last thing you want is to find an epic spot for your shoot but your pet’s color clashes with or is hidden by the landscape!

Find fun locations to take pet portraits


How to Take Pet Portraits Tip #3: Have an Assistant (with treats!)

You are gonna want an extra set of hands when dealing with a pet, especially if there is more than one furry friend present. Keep in mind it’s much harder to shoot 2 together than just one.

Getting them both to sit at the same time and look at the same place at the same time can be quite challenging 

Know the dog’s motivations to help with focus – i.e treat or toys. Especially for food-motivated pets, get them to be in position and give them a little taste, then bring the rest of the treats over to the camera to give them a compelling reason to look.

Also, make sure to know and use the commands that the pet knows. If they know the sit command, use that to help them get/stay in position.

Have an assistant help you take the pet portraits


Pets are so cute and fun to photograph, especially when you know how to get the best shots.

Take amazing photos of your pets with these tips, or add pet photography to your business services. Your friends and family will love their amazing pet portraits you can take!

Next, read this comprehensive photography guide to take your photo skills to the next level!


Which of these pet portrait tips will you use for your your next portrait session with a furry friend?

Comment below!

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