How to Take Professional Pet Photos Even If You Don’t Own a Pet

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  By Taya Ivanova
How to Take Professional Pet Photos Even If You Don’t Own a Pet

The easiest way to master a photography genre is to practice, practice, practice. But what if you can’t do that all the time because of certain limitations?

If you’re an aspiring pet or animal photographer, you have to photograph animals all the time to become a professional. The best place to start is at home with a pet. If you don’t have one, you might get nervous or find it difficult to connect with other animals during a pet photoshoot. This will all negatively affect the outcome of your shoot.

Here’s what you should do to become a professional pet photographer without owning a pet.

Take Photos in Dog Parks

french bulldog in dog park

There are hundreds of dog parks and beaches all over the world. Since the dogs there won’t be posing for you, you’ll have to be quick on your feet and comfortable with your camera. Use this busy environment to work on your action photography skills.

Dog parks are also great because of the safety they provide. Most dog-friendly places have strict rules that ensure safety, so you don’t have to worry about being attacked by rabid dogs (or their owners!)

Before you take photos of any dog, make sure you ask the owner for permission. Have a few business cards ready with you to advertise your work. This way, you’ll get to improve your skills and introduce yourself to potential clients at the same time.

For this to be successful, have a portfolio ready to give people a few examples of what you can do.

Work on a Pet Project That Involves Visiting Different People’s Homes

dog calmly posing for camera

Find a local Facebook group for pet owners or put up an ad in the newspaper. Offer free pet photography photoshoots. In return, you can take photos of someone’s pet in their home. If you’re a beginner, this is an easy way to build your portfolio, meet new people, and spread the word about your business.

You can turn this into a pet project with a specific theme. This doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, you can photograph small dogs, cats with a specific colour, rescue pets, or specific breeds.

This is an efficient way to improve your skills because it will introduce you to different kind of pets and homes. You’ll get to work with different kinds of light, environments, and personalities that will challenge and inspire you.

Take Photos of Stray Animals

Where I live, stray cats fall in love with anyone who brings them food. If the stray animals in your location are friendly, you can easily use them as your outdoor photography models.

This is a great way to improve your knowledge of animals and take care of stray animals that deserve love and attention. Make sure you give them lots of food so that they stay warm and happy for a long time!

Volunteer at Rescue Shelters

Many rescue shelters are in desperate need of photographers to advertise their animals and find them a new home. Use this as an opportunity to do good and familiarise yourself with different cats and dogs.

You might even return home with a new furry addition to the family. 🙂

Take Photos of Pets That Belong to Your Friends and Family

This might seem like common sense, but it’s easy to overlook obvious things sometimes. Think of friends, friends of friends, and family members who might own a pet or two. You can then comfortably take photos in their home.

This is a more decent and safer alternative to collaborating with strangers.

cats relaxing outdoors in the shade

Taking photos of pets doesn’t have to be nerve-racking or tedious.

The key to amazing pet photography is practice. Take photos of other people’s pets, volunteer at rescue shelters, and befriend stray animals. This will help you bond with, and appreciate, animals of all kinds. You’ll get better at understanding their unique personalities and learn to adapt to any situation.

Once you do all these things, you’ll be very close to becoming a thoughtful and professional pet photography pro.

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I'm an admirer of nature, a photographer, and a curious reader. Writing about photography and helping others improve is a growing passion of mine. My constant wish is to inspire others to be creatively fearless and endlessly curious. "Always dream bigger is my advice to you, because you can have whatever your heart desires" - Ashley Graham

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