Guide to Gorgeous Pet Portraits

When it comes to loved ones and best friends, photos together seem like a no-brainer, but when we think about those dearest, most of us pet parents can’t imagine that circle being complete without our four-legged buddies! 🐶 Our beloved pets are family members, so don’t forget to include them in your next family photo session. 📸 If the thought of photos of your pet alongside yourself, your partner, and/or your kids makes you feel slightly frantic and frazzled, stop right there and get ready to read on! Photos with fur babies are so special and don’t have to feel intimidating. 🤗

Here at Flytographer, we easily connect people with trusted photographers for fun photo shoots and have captured over three million memories worldwide. 🌎 Today, we asked our local photographers for their top shooting tips to capture adorable pet photos! 🐾

Photo: Kari in New York City for Flytographer. Kim and partner capture a trip together in New York City with a couple photoshoot.

1. Look for natural light

Pet owners, natural light is your photo’s non-relative BFF and is especially helpful when talking about photos with those pet BFFs. Good natural light gives you flexibility and freedom to move around and capture photos that feel comfortable and flattering. Ideal natural light includes areas with a good amount of shade or cloud cover, ☁️ particularly if it’s the golden hour (just after sunrise or before sunset). When pets are involved, it’s important to remember that pets can handle photo shoots similar to toddlers: unpredictably! 🫣 If you have an active, easily distracted pet child, look for locations without excessive distractions. If you have a playful pet, use that playfulness and give yourself room to move around and interact! 👍 Using natural light in these locations will make your life much easier—we promise.

Photo: Emma in Charleston for Flytographer. Whitney and partner capture a couple trip in Charleston with a couple photoshoot.

2. Consider coordinating outfits

Who doesn’t love a good coordinating outfit?! Whether it’s a collar, sweater, bow or bow tie, tiny shoes, or any other pet accessory, what about finding something that coordinates well with your duds? Remember that urban or other city areas often have leash requirements, so that leash will likely be shown in your final images—be sure your leash or harness isn’t going to drive you crazy when you look back on those photos! 🦮

Pro tip: When it comes to human counterparts, be sure your footwear matches the occasion—avoid heels or other delicate shoes if you’re planning to move around a lot (e.g., chase, run, or roll around on the ground) during your photo session. 👠

Photo: Alanna in Whistler for Flytographer. Brad and partner enjoy a day together in Whistler with a couple photoshoot.

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3. Have fun with your furry family

Pet portraits don’t have to mean rigidity or stillness. Have fun! Most pet friends get especially excited about all the attention (and their newfound friend/pet photographer), so expect lots of activity and movement and roll with that energy! 🐕 Many professional family photographers are familiar and experienced with dog photography, so don’t fear talking with them about how you can make your pet portraits both special and fun. 🎉 We recommend using the last few minutes of your shoot to really let loose and not worry about getting dirty or overly excited and go for it! 🥳

Photo: Tracy in Portland, Maine for Flytographer. Andrew and partner capture their engagement in Portland, Maine with a proposal photoshoot.

4. Explore the surrounding area off the beaten path

Choosing a location with a variety of backgrounds is a top tip. Take advantage of open space and explore the surrounding areas or go off the beaten path! 🚸 Sometimes an ideal photo background can be busy, otherwise occupied, or just not pet-friendly (e.g., muddy or full of other pets who also want to participate in your exciting family photos 🙃), so rather than letting that vibe throw you off or let you down, stay open-minded and explore! Your photographer is and should be there for you every step of the way, so dog owners, go adventure! 🧭

Photo: Darine in Banff for Flytographer. Tanya and friends celebrate a fun day together in Banff with a friend photoshoot.

5. Be patient for the perfect close-up

Let your photographer guide those close-ups, which may take place with you by their side, holding your pet, playing with your pet… It totally depends! Every pet is different, so have some strategies on hand (even literally as notes in your phone or an album with inspiration photos) and be willing to be patient. 📝The perfect close-up typically just requires a bit of stillness on your pet’s part, so work with your pro photographer patiently to get some shots of that cute pet of yours in a variety of situations. If your pet BFF is a cat or another shy animal, being patient is especially important, so stay cool. 🐈 Give your pet some time to warm up, using that time to get some shots sans pet. Again, similarly with kids, temporarily ignoring your furry friend typically leads to a natural curiosity and will ease your pet right into your photos casually rather than dragging them kicking, screaming, barking, or meowing. 😽

Photo: Flytographer in Boulder. Shannon and partner celebrate a trip together in Boulder with a couple photoshoot.

Capturing Memories with Your Furry Friends

Whether they are dog, cat, or horse photos; or any other kind of pictures with your pet friend you call family, don’t be afraid to include them in your next photoshoot! Find a photographer that is willing, able, and enthusiastic about capturing life with your furry (or fur-less 🐢) friend! 🤳 Make sure your wall art includes a shot of your entire family, pet(s) included. 🖼

We can’t wait to help capture your next photoshoot, on location, and with or without your pet. Talk to you soon! 👏