The 6 Photos Every Pet Parent Needs

While I prefer to let your session unfold organically at the comfort and pace that your furry friend prefers rather than arm myself with a pre-determined shot list, there are six photos I believe every pet parent needs. In week 40 of the Photography Blog Circle, join me and other participating photographers as we dive into the photos everyone needs.

1. The Full-Body Portrait

The full-body portrait is exactly what it sounds like, a photo of your pet that shows off his entire body. When composing this type of portrait:

  • Leave enough space within the frame to prevent cropping of any limbs, including paws and his tail.
  • Use the rule of thirds to create visual interest and draw the viewer’s eye to your subject.
  • Shoot from various angles–straight-on, from the side, from behind–to create variety in your images.

2. The Classic Headshot

Think along the lines of a traditional human headshot. The classic headshot is photographed from much closer than a full-body photo, usually from your dog’s chest up so that the focus falls right on his handsome face. When coupled with a clean, simple background and an adorable head tilt activated from my hilarious lanyard of unusual ear-perking sounds, these portraits become guaranteed must-haves for your wall.

3. The Look Up

While I preach that the number-one rule in pet photography is to get lower than low, the look up is a popular perspective because of its familiarity to pet parents. It’s a position we see our pets in every day as they patter around at our feet, lovingly admiring our every move. This particular angle also plays up that boopable, puppy-eyed expression that melts our hearts, making it the perfect choice for signature wall art, the cover of your fine art album, or the outside image on your heirloom folio box.

dogs looking up at camera during professional pet photography sessions

4. With The Ones They Love

Remember this hilariously cringe-worthy scene in the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby in which Will Ferrell’s character blunderingly expresses that he’s not sure what to do with his hands?


Yeah. That’s definitely not what we want you feeling like when you join your pup for photos! Thankfully, there are ways to include yourself in photos without having to pose awkwardly or worry about what to do with your hands. Think silhouettes, just your hands as you pet your dog or your feet as they look up at you, candid connections, or with you just slightly out of focus in the distance. When joining in, I’ll prompt rather than pose you through natural interactions with your dog to eliminate any uncertainty and uncomfortableness. It’s amazing how much easier it is to let your guard down with a furry friend by your side.

5. The Action Shot

Action shots are not only my favorite, they’re a favorite of clients as well! Playful, in-motion shots are great for high-energy pups, ideal for bringing out personality, and an easy way to capture emotion. (I mean, is there anything more joyful than a free-spirited dog racing through a field? I think not!)

dogs running and playing in fields

These photos are also the most difficult for clients to capture themselves due to the adequate lighting, appropriate shutter speed, and continuous focus required to nail them. It’s one of the reasons that, provided your pup is up for it, I encourage you to try a few action shots during your session. You game? Awesome! We’ll get some straight-on and side views of your dog running, high-flying shots of him catching frisbee if he’s got mad skills, playing tug with a favorite toy he brought along, splashing in a cool creek, or teasing you with a catch-me-if-you-can attitude as he runs by with a newfound stick.

6. The Details

Coarse whiskers, floofy paws, unique markings, and the view of their world reflected in their eyes: detail shots are a must when photographing with the intention of creating a fine art album or an heirloom folio box. While they may not the first images you think of when you book your pet photography session, they will someday become the very things you’ll want to remember about your pet. Don’t overlook the value of these seemingly insignificant details.

If you would like to book a Bark & Gold Photography session for your pet, click here or give me a call at 724-913-BARK (2275). For more information on Bark & Gold Photography sessions, visit “The Experience” in the menu and be sure to share your email on my homepage to join the VIP list.

This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Photos Everyone Needs,” check out  April Ohl of April Ohl Photography, unique senior photography made simple. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

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