UPDATED November 14th, 2017

When it comes to pet portraits, it’s hard to take a bad one but there’s a lot of competition out there on social media. Of course the portrait is mainly for your family to enjoy and share with relatives and close friends. But it’s almost a crime to deprive the world of your pet’s off the charts cuteness and how many staring at the camera or lounging on the bed pics do you already have? Try a few of these 15 new ways to photograph your pet so he or she will stand out from the crowd.

1. Go Minimal
Keep the background simple, spare and clean. Skip the props and don’t try to coax him or her into silly poses. Just hang out with the camera and take shots while your furry (or feathery or scaly) pal does his or her thing.

2. Black & White
A black and white pet portrait may not seem all that groundbreaking but do you have any in your collection? They’re great for conveying your pet’s soulfulness.

3. Camera Allure
If most of your pics are of your dog or cat’s bum exiting the frame, it’s time for a new strategy. Try attaching a treat or toy to your camera. Or find a way to dangle it just above the lens. You’ll have their undivided attention and a fantastic photo of a sparky, expectant pet.

4. Doggie Cam
GoPro makes a dog harness with a camera mount so you can get doggie POV shots. If you’ve got other pets, saddle up your pooch and let him do the work! Patience, a fast shutter speed and a remote are key here.

5. Action Shot
Pick a time and place with lots of natural light and use a fast shutter speed with Continuous or Burst mode to get freeze-frame action shots of your pet at play.

Read Related: 5 Gifts for the Pet Lover in Your Life


6. Underwater Adventures
Dogs, fish and turtles are probably the only pet candidates for underwater portraits unless you’ve got an unusual water loving kitty. Use a waterproof camera for an angle you rarely see. Check out Seth Casteel’s Underwater Dogs for inspiration.

7. A Different Perspective
If most of your animal pics are taken from above or at eye level, try seeing things from a different angle. If you’ve got a glass table and a relatively light pet, try shooting from the ground up.

8. Details, Details, Details
Don’t get stuck on fitting your whole pet in the frame. Get some extreme close-ups of his or her cutest parts. Wooly feet, snuggly muzzles, silly ears or fat bellies are surefire hits.

9. Candid
Candid photos really tell a story. Keep your camera or smartphone handy and ready for action to snap when your pet’s not paying attention. Rather than waiting for the perfect shot, just take tons and pick out the winners.

10. 80’s Inspiration
Kick it old-school 80’s style! It’s surprisingly easy to turn your pet photos into portrait studio-style with laser background gems like Draven Rodriguez’s Laser Cat. If lasers aren’t your thing, any abstract background will do.


10. Out of Context
Pets show up in the darnedest places! If your pet has a favorite unusual chill spot, you’re halfway there. Or think about random picturesque or funny places. Cupboards and sinks have been done to death so consider looking outside the house. Peaking out of a leaf pile, buried in the sand at the beach, on a swing at the playground….

12. Pop Art
Transform your pet’s photo into a work of art. Make your own Warhol-style print or play with color overlays and mirror images à la William Wegman.

13. Set a Trap
National Geographic photographer, Steve Winter sets camera traps to capture images of elusive wild animals and so can you! Find a good spot to position the camera, set it on Continuous then put something nearby to make your pet want to check it out. You can lie in wait and use a remote or hide it under a rug where your pet will step on it.

14. Make it Wearable
Use your favorite pet pic to make an easy DIY photo pendant. That way he or she will always be close to your heart.

15. Pose a Pet
Pose a Pet is an awesome app designed for dogs but it can work for any animal that responds to sounds. It’s got a library of sounds — squeaking, honking, doorbell, etc. — to capture your pet’s attention. It’s especially good for getting those adorably quizzical cocked head poses.