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28 Pet Photography Ideas to Get You Inspired

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Dog pet photography

Undoubtedly, pet photography is one of the most popular photography genres. Their adorable faces make the image pretty amazing as it is, but it takes some skill to capture the best shot of these energetic animals. 

You may think, “What could be so hard about taking some pictures of a dog?” But when your model is an unpredictable puppy jumping or running around any chance they get, you’ll need more than just expert photography skills.

Whether you want to shoot for your doggy’s famous Instagram profile or to capture your puppy’s best memories, getting the perfect shot of your furry friend will require you to know some tricks and tips before going for it.

Keep reading for 28 of the best photography ideas to get you inspired. Set up the perfect photo session for your little pet and capture their most adorable moments!

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The 28 Pet Photography Ideas Are:

Here are 28 pet photography ideas to inspire you and capture some adorable shots of your furry friend.

1. Freshly Bathed

a beagle taking a bath in the tub
Image Credit: Alex Zotov, Shutterstock

One of the most adorable things to capture is a freshly bathed pet! Their wet fur makes them look much smaller and thinner than usual, and it’s a sight to see. All you need is some water, and you can photograph your dog or cat fresh out of bath time.

2. Up Close and Personal

cat matted fur
Image Credit: Petra, Pixabay

Getting a close-up shot of your pet is essential, especially if you want to capture the minute details of their natural beauty. For example, a close-up shot of your cat or dog’s fur will allow you to capture the beautiful patterns of their textured hair. A cool way to set this shot apart from other close-ups is by ensuring the part of the pet’s body is unrecognizable to viewers.

3. Messy Eaters

dog eating peanut butter
Image Credit: Elizabeth Foley, Shutterstock

Animals eat like, well, animals, and it can get pretty messy. While it can be a hassle to handle daily, their messy eating habits make for pretty fun shots. Serve your pet dog a spoonful of their favorite peanut butter and capture multiple shots of them licking it up!

4. Pet Expressions

happy fawn pug puppy
Image Credit: Stefan Glazer, Pixabay

Pets have pretty tell-tale faces when it comes to emotions. Whether they’re happy or sad, you’ll know instantly what makes them so interesting to photograph. So, capture their most adorable expressions with props you know will invoke some kind of emotion for the pet (ex: their favorite toy!)

5. Human Expressions

Chocolate Tortie Point Ragdoll cat
Image Credit: Martin Leber, Shutterstock

Aside from their expressions, pets have a knack for learning and imitating human expressions. So, don’t be surprised if you find your cat making that bored, nothing’s-on-TV face. Just pick up your camera and get a close-up of their adorable faces!

6. Surrounded by Nature

rough collie in the woods
Image Credit: SGracheva_2610, Pixabay

Domestic animals look truly majestic when photographed where they came from—nature! So, if you live near the woods or a scenic location with hills, take that chance to photograph your pet with a background that complements their natural beauty. Plus, they’ll enjoy the fresh air and the change of scenery!

7. Out for a Swim

husky catching ball underwater
Image Credit: EthanMama, Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a change of pace in pet photography, capturing them underwater is the best solution. Throw their favorite toy in the pool to get a shot of them diving in, and don’t forget to shoot them practicing their swimming skills! If you have a pool and a waterproof camera, there’s no reason not to try out this photography idea.

8. Pet Makeover

shih tzu with cone paws
Image Credit: Ihar Halavach, Shutterstock

No matter how spoiled they are, domestic animals find a way to dishevel their appearance by the end of the day. Plus, their fur grows out pretty fast, calling for a makeover every month or so. So, when it’s time for your pet’s monthly makeover, accompany them and capture a few shots of the before and after.

9. Signature Pounce

blue tabby maine coon cat
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

It’s no secret that pets love to pounce on you and show dominance even when they’re just babies. So, if you’ve got a fierce kitten on your hands that pounces at every movement, make sure to get a few shots in. In this case, it’s best to crouch down to their level and let them pounce at the camera.

10. Like Owner, Like Pet


Pets tend to copy the behaviors and movements of their owners, but what if you could find similarities in the appearances too? Sebastian Magnani’s project “Underdogs and Undercats” captures the best example of this photography idea, merging portraits of the owner and pet to create something other-worldly.

11. Shake It Off

labrador dog shaking off water
Image Credit: SasaStock, Shutterstock

One of the most adorable pet moments is when pets shake themselves off after a bath, leaving a ring of water droplets around them. This is an iconic moment to capture, allowing you to get your pet’s adorable and clumsy character on camera.

12. Double Exposure


Double exposure is an undoubtedly fun photography idea to experiment with. Take a few portraits of your pet and combine them with some of your best shots of nature or scenic locations. This will result in unique images, allowing you to find similarities between nature and its inhabitants.

13. Fluffy Underbellies

cat sleeping with its belly up on a cat bed
Image Credit: Jim Black, Pixabay

Domestic animals, especially cats, are pretty protective of their bellies. So, if you find them laying on their backs, they trust you! Take advantage of this moment and photograph their fluffy underbelly and maybe give them a few pets and treats as gratitude.

14. Intimate Portraits

shih tzu face
Image Credit: Angel Sallade, Shutterstock

Sometimes, it’s best to just take a classic approach and shoot some intimate portraits of your pet. A simple, prop-free photoshoot with a plain background will result in mesmerizing shots, focusing on the minute details of your pet’s face. You’ll wonder, “When did their whiskers get so long and beautiful?”

15. Two Is Better Than One

two poodle dogs on the grass
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

Photographing one pet is all fun and games until it’s time to add another to the mix. Although containing their combined carefree natures long enough for a photoshoot may be tricky, it’ll all be worth it when you see the results. Make sure to capture moments of their playtime or fighting over their favorite toy.

16. Catching Treats

pug dog having treat
Image Credit: angelbandala, Shutterstock

Admit it; it’s pretty impressive when we throw our pets a treat, and they catch it with their mouth. If you have a dog, who gets especially excited when it’s time to catch treats, pick up your camera and capture their skill in action. Set up a simple portrait, tease your dog with a treat, throw it at them, and click!

17. Pets in Action

brindle french bulldog playing with ball
Image Credit: Kossi007, Pixabay

If your pets are particularly energetic and love running around, get some action shots in. Their playtime is the perfect moment for you to photograph their carefree and fun-loving nature, setting your shots apart from the typically cute and light-hearted pet photography.

18. Frisbees in Action

male border collie playing
Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

One of the best ways to get shots of dogs in action is to photograph them on game day. Of course, there’s no dog that doesn’t love fetching frisbees, which is why they’re the perfect prop. In this case, a long telephoto lens with a wide aperture will help you create a shallow depth of field.

19. Best Friends

cat and dog together on the floor indoors
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

It’s a truly special moment when two pets become best friends, forming an unbreakable bond full of hugs and playtime. It’s even more special when there’s an interspecies bond, so make sure to capture the two furry best friends and immortalize their friendship with your camera.

20. On an Adventure

two dogs in tent
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

If you’re an adventurous traveler who likes to capture the most scenic locations, try taking your pet with you on your next trip. Capturing them dozing off near the campsite or drinking from the pond will result in cool shots you’ll never get again.

21. Dozing Off

Cat sleeping on a warm cozy bed
Image Credit: Александар Цветановић, Pexels

Watching your pet fall asleep, as their eyes fall shut and their breathing gets steadier, can be pretty mesmerizing. It feels like a reward once you hear them purring in their sleep! So take advantage of their calm and sleepy state and get some adorable shots.

22. Beach Day

golden retriever dog lying on the sand beach
Image Credit: alexgo.photography, Shutterstock

Cats might not love it so much, but dogs love beach days. Pack their frisbee and beach ball and let them run around at the beach with their favorite toys. Then, let them do their thing as you photograph them in front of the blue waves.

23. Mythical Creatures


Photographing pets in domestic settings is a classic move, but what if you opted for something entirely different. For your next pet photoshoot, photograph your pet the same way you would if you came across a werewolf or a sphynx. Look for similarities between domestic animals and mythical creatures, and you’ll have some interesting shots.

24. Halloween Costumes

cat wearing a pirate costume
Image Credit: Benevolente82, Shutterstock

Capturing your cats and dogs in their Halloween costumes makes for the most adorable pet photoshoot. Plus, you’ll be able to incorporate the beautiful color palette of autumn in your pictures, allowing for some funny but perfect shots.

25. Yarn or Tennis Balls

cat playing yarn
Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock

When it comes to foolproof toys that get your pet’s attention every time, cats love yarn balls, and dogs love tennis balls. Throw any of these their way, and you’ll surely capture some wonderful shots in action, doting over their favorite toy.

26. Christmas Morning

a cute yorkshire terrier dog wearing a santa costume for christmas
Image Credit: YamaBSM, Pixabay

Who said Christmas morning is only exciting for children? Your pets are an equal part of the holiday spirit, so take this chance to dress them up into the comfiest Christmas onesie and get into a holiday-themed photo shoot.

27. Iris Details

cat green eyes
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Regardless of your pet type, they all have mesmerizingly beautiful eyes! Zoom in on their irises, and you’ll surely find some awe-inspiring details worth capturing. The transition from slitted pupils to fully dilated ones make for some mesmerizing shots.

28. Under the Paw

close-up of cat paw
Image Credit: patthamapong, Shutterstock

Pets are overall adorable, but no one can resist smiling at their paw pads! Take close-up shots of their paws, and you’ll get some adorable shots of their pink, black, or brown paw pads that anyone will dote on.

shutter camera divider 2 Pet Photography Tips

Although these ideas seem amazing, they can be intimidating when it’s time to start shooting. Keep these pet photography tips in mind to make the session easier for you and your furry friend.

Get the Right Lens

You may not find a camera lens fully dedicated to pet photography but picking a lens based on your shoot ideas can help you in the long run. For example, a wide-angle lens will work perfectly if you’re going for a natural shot that captures your pet’s character complementing the beautiful surroundings.

When it comes to indoor photography, there’s no better option than a 50mm lens as they click rapidly and give the best bokeh shots. Lastly, a telephoto lens can perfectly capture your pet’s speedy movements if you’re going outdoors for a playful shoot full of in-action shots.

camera with 85mm lens
Image Credit: ShareGrid, Unsplash

Pay Your Model With Treats

No one likes working for free, especially not the adorable pets cooperating with you for the perfect photoshoot. Luckily, paying your furry friend will only cost you a handful of treats or maybe their favorite stuffed toy.

Treat them with their favorites, and you’ll see how rewarding your puppy can make the shoot much easier. This is the perfect way to draw your pet’s attention and make them comfortable around you, encouraging them to keep up their good behavior. Your friendly gesture will help them ease up and even perform some of their best tricks for the camera!

Opt for Natural Light

Taking photos in sunlight can give you much better results but only at specific hours. For example, photographing your pets during the afternoon might result in unnecessary shadows or overexposure to the sharp sunlight.

However, shooting during the golden hour eliminates all these issues. Keep your equipment and pet prepared before dawn or right after dusk to catch their natural beauty in radiant, stunning shades of gold.

When your pet already has adequate exposure, adjusting the brightness for the perfect shot with the help of the metering modes becomes a breeze. Shooting during the golden hour ensures the pictures aren’t too dark or too bright.

Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock


Keep the Pet Comfortable

Your pet’s comfort should be your priority when going for a shoot, as it’s almost impossible to shoot when your pets are anxious or nervous. However, stepping out of their comfort zone can be tricky for pets, so you must ensure they’re relaxed enough to perform as an adorable model.

Familiarize your pet with the gear and allow them to touch and sniff the camera and other equipment so they don’t get afraid when working with it. If you’re working with someone else’s pet, spend a few moments getting to know them so they trust you enough to work with you.

Capture Their Character

If you’re conducting the shoot with your own pet, you know how to work with them, and it’s easier for you to capture their character with your camera. But the same can’t be said about working with someone else’s pets.

After getting them comfy around you, you need to learn about their habits, nicknames, and favorite treats so it’s easier for you to capture their true personality. If your doggy model is active and jumpy, it’ll call for an in-action photoshoot full of activities.

But if it’s a lazy feline, you can hype them up with a few toys and treats to get their attention.

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Now that you know 28 of the most adorable ideas for a pet photoshoot, you’re ready to get your hands on the camera and photograph your furry partner! Whether you choose a park or your bedroom as the perfect setting, follow our tips to get the shots you need.

Featured Image Credit: annel69, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.