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Pet Photo Tips

We all love our pets and certainly love to show them off in photos! But photographing pets that don’t always want to sit or stay can be difficult. Professional pet photographer and owner of InBetween the Blinks Photography, Tara Lynn shares some of her tips to capture better photos of your four-legged loves.

#1 – Lighting

If I could give just one tip here, it would be to find even lighting!  So often we are with friends and are standing next to each other and say, “Hey, let’s take a photo.” Then you look at the photo and realize everybody has these awful shadows on their faces because of uneven or overhead lighting. A great time to shoot is early morning or just before sunset, but since we don’t live our lives around when we’re going to take photos, we often find ourselves out on a bright sunny day.

If you are outside make sure to find the shade! It’s tough to find a spot in the sun where your subject won’t be squinting and there won’t be shadows on faces which can be very unflattering. A cloudy day can be ideal since the clouds naturally diffuse the light for us!  Don’t be afraid to swing 90 degrees so that the sun isn’t shining sideways across your subject’s face. Or better yet, make sure the sun isn’t behind your subject if you are out in the afternoon. This usually makes for a bright background and a shadowing foreground/subject.

#2 – Background

Tara Lynn photo black and white dogWhat’s behind your pet?  You may be in the backyard and snapping photos and then realize there is an ugly patch of dead grass that is distracting.  Or you are out downtown and snap a photo only to later realize that a pole is directly behind your pet and it looks like it’s growing out of their head!  Sometimes all it takes is a few steps to the left or right to cover up anything that might be distracting in the background.

Also, if you are near a wall that provides a nice background, don’t back all the way up against it. Provide some space between you and your background. The more space, the “softer” the background becomes and the more your pet will become the focus.

#3 – Framing

Fill up the Frame! So often there is a lot of negative space in our photos.  If you find yourself always cropping your photos, use your feet and step closer to your pet when you take a photo.  As my mentor told me, “when you think you’re close enough, take a few more steps forward.”

#4 Play with your camera

Today’s point-and-shoot digital cameras have almost every setting you can think of for shooting: snow, at the beach, food, the sunset, action shots. We usually spend all this money on a camera with fantastic features, but cruise around with it always on auto.

Use your different settings. They are made with set light sensitivity (ISO) and shutter speed settings that you would have to adjust yourself if using a digital SLR camera in manual mode. Don’t let these pre-sets go to waste!

#5 – Leave your Iphone for social media

Tara Lynn Photography LilyThis is one thing I am VERY passionate about. I have little patience and just love to share things with friends when they happen. So I do love that cell phones these days allow for instantaneous sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. But will you or have you ever printed out a photo from your phone and hung it on the wall? Doubtful.  Camera phones these days take great photos, but many aren’t that great in low light settings and the sizes are so small that you would get away with a small print, but nothing larger enough that you would want to display.  So keep those photos for social media. Grab a point-and-shoot (remember those?!?!?).  It doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to have a fancy camera with interchangeable lenses.  Just a camera that you will hopefully actually download the photos to your computer, print out, scrapbook and share and have to show your children one day.  Do you remember going through boxes of old photos at your grandparent’s house? Or even your own photos from high school and grade school (am I really dating myself for some of you youngins out there?)?  Don’t keep those photos in digital format only. Print, display and save!

Tara Lynn is the owner of InBetween the Blinks Photography and mom to Baxter and Lily.  See more of her work at

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