TIPS: Photographing Animals & Pets

Introduction: TIPS: Photographing Animals & Pets

Photographing wild animals and pets can be a chore but with these few tips it will make for a better experience and better photos!

Items Needed:

  • Camera (film, digital or phone)
  • pets or animals
  • patience

Step 1: Tip 1: the Camera

Film/Digital Camera:

  • Always have the Red Eye Removal turned on (if you have that option) to avoid demon looking animal eyes. There will be times this isn't enough, if that is the case try taking a picture of the animal looking off to the side or at something if possible.
  • If possible take the photo outside, natural light is the best lighting and this also helps to reduce the chance of having demon eyes
  • When using flash animals tend to blink at the blinding light so again outside light is best to avoid the flash but if you cannot avoid it then again having the animals attention on something other than you and the camera will hopefully keep them from closing their eyes and avoiding the red glowing demon eyes
  • Tripods are nice for stability but animals move and you need to move as well so a small light weight tripod is best, or you can go without one and just trust your steady hands.


  • Same applies to using phones for your camera, if you have a red eye removal option use it
  • Only use flash when necessary
  • Light and small tripods work best

EXTRA: If you follow these steps and you still get red eyes, try using a photoshop program to fix them!

Step 2: Tip 2: Photographing the Animal


  • Take the photo from their level (down low) *Caution: if you are down low and face to face with the animal this may be misconstrued as an aggressive move, so know your animal well*
  • Don't be afraid to get up close to the animal (see above caution) or if not possible let zoom be your best friend!
  • When you need to zoom in a tripod is helpful in keeping the camera/phone steady to avoid blurry and out of focus pictures


  • Zoom is your friend - wild animals are tricky to photograph because they tend to spook and flee, so using your zoom to get "close" is the best option it also keeps the predator animals at a safe distance
  • Patience is a virtue (applies to both pets & wildlife)
  • Stealth try to be as quiet as possible to avoid spooking the animal (if you have a noisy phone put it on silent)
  • Sometimes you get the animals that are not afraid of people use caution when photographing these animals (they are still wild and can carry disease & can attack) always stay standing, if you want a low shot crouch down a bit and hold the camera lower or use a short tripod and don't make any sudden movements, go slow!

EXTRA: If you are taking pictures of an animal behind glass like at a zoo don't use the flash it reflects off the glass and ruins the picture, take at an angle if possible to avoid bad reflections

Step 3: Tip 3: Bonus & Extras

  • Be mindful of whats behind the animal being photographed, and ugly wall or strange person can ruin the whole photo!
  • to add "drama" you can make the photos black & white or sepia toned if your camera does not have these functions a paintshop program can do this as well
  • if you do end up with a strange thing in the background then if you can successfully crop it out then do so!
  • Using the sport or action mode on your camera helps when photographing a animal in motion (running jumping or flying) no blur
  • Don't be afraid to take a bunch of pictures instead of waiting for that one perfect shot
  • Be mobile, animals move around so should you
  • The animal does not need to be front and center in the picture off center can make for a nice "artistic" shot
  • Don't worry about getting the entire animal in frame, head shots are wonderful too especially if you capture a wonderful expression

*That's all from me! Hope you like my tips! HAPPY PHOTOGRAPHING*

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    6 years ago on Introduction

    There are times when you are in a place where you have no control of the situation like a show at the state fair. These photos were taken at the State Fair at Puyallup, WA. This chicken was in a cage and the angles and position to shoot the photo was limited. I had to make lemonade out of lemons and do the best I could. This was what I got. I had to put the lens in between the holes of the cage. It is a challenge in thinking how to get the best shot.

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    6 years ago

    Animals can be hard to photograph especially my dogs.
    Great job! I find these tips helpful. You got my vote.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    DITTO the ground level shot is very good for pets, I saw down further in the instructable that this post-er had some shots ground level.

    Also something to try for is greenery in the background, even for humans that seems more pleasing to the eye for colors..definitely outdoors with green background supersedes anything indoors with flash. 8-)

    Crop as tight as you possibly can, notice even human models in advertising, body parts are cropped and it is effective.

    Ground level, background and colors, lighting, cropping as much in the camera as possible or later on the computer are tips in a nutshell.

    Thanks for encouraging photo documentation to remember our dear pets. Limited examples here.

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    6 years ago

    Another few tips is to get LOWER than the pet. Also smaller animals on a semi reflective surface works well.


    6 years ago

    I would recommend that you DON'T use red eye reduction. Because red eye reduction generally uses a small red light to reduce the reflection on the retina OR does this in software automatically, but of which ruins the true colour of a pet. Better to correct after in photoshop/lightroom. I run my own photography business specialised in pet photography.


    That dog looks amazingly stoic. Like its about to firefighter dog break into a burning house and save a child and then after that just humbly lye down on the floor like, 'Oh it was nothing, youre welcome Timmy the child I saved." Good closeup of a squirrel. Squirrels are weirdly oddly human like Ive been noticing. Theres a lot going on in their minds I think.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    It's probably the German Shepard in her that gives off that "commanding feel."
    Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you liked my photos!