Christmas is a time when we come together to spend time with our loved ones, not to forget the Christmas walks to walk off the Christmas treats. These occasions are ideal to capture some very special memories for you and your pet family.

Below are my 5 simple tips to help you take better photos of your pets. The best camera is always the one you have at hand when the right photo opportunity presents itself and most mobile phones nowadays have very decent cameras included already.

1. Make the most of natural light

Natural light is the photographer’s friend. You don’t need expensive equipment when you know how to make the light work for you.

  • For indoor photos:
    Position your pet close to a large window on a sunny day. If the light is too bright, draw the curtains. You want to avoid harsh shadows.
  • For outdoor photos:
    Take the photos in a shaded area when it’s sunny. Cloudy days are the photographer’s best friend as the clouds create a natural filter. The surrounding light will make your pet’s eyes sparkle and give them that extra glow.

2. Focus on their eyes for emotional photos

On most phone cameras you can set the photos by tapping on the part of the screen that you want to be pin sharp. For soulful pet photos, this always means to focus on their eyes.

3. Get down low

Always taking photos while standing up gets a bit samey. If you lie down and focus on their eyes, you will get a unique perspective and see the world from their level.

4. Avoid clutter

This might be a little bit hard during the Christmas hustle and bustle but make sure that there is no clutter around when you position your pet. Try to find a clean and unobstructed background. This is also true outside. A quick snap in front of the bins is not as effective as carefully choosing a nice shrub or Christmas garden display as a prop. Keep it simple, the hero of your photos should always be your pet, nothing else.

5. Don’t use flash

Flash is considered disruptive unless professional equipment is used. It is very unlikely that your phone has professional flash features available, so please don’t use it. Flash will also make your pet’s eyes glow in an unflattering way and might even scare them.

Bonus Tip: Patience is the most important ingredient

I wanted to keep it to 5 tips but this last one is simply too important not to include. For a stunning pet photo that gives you the Wow Effect, you cannot rush your pet. Go at their pace and let them take the lead. Please keep your pet’s comfort and safety in mind at all times. No matter what, never force it to pose for you unless you want to end up getting scratched or bitten. If you make your pet feel uncomfortable every time they see your smartphone, they won’t be interested in posing for you again.

I know, these tips sound very simple but there is a reason why even professional photographers say never work with animals. It is one of the trickiest photography genres and many will give up feeling frustrated. However, if you don’t get the results you would like and all your photos end up blurry, just drop me a line. I’m very happy to have a chat with you about what kinds of photos you have in mind. Have a look at my website, Facebook and Instagram and see if we can create fantastic memories for you that will get you emotional every time you look at your dog’s, cat’s or horse’s photos.

Have a fabulous Christmas together with your furry and non-furry family members and all the very best for the New Year. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has supported me with setting up my equine and pet photography business and has helped me throughout the very difficult past two months while I was looking after my cat Dobby. He will never be forgotten and has left pawprints on so many hearts. Thank you so much, everybody!