How to take irresistible photos of your pets with your iPhone

If you don't have kids, your iPhone Camera Roll is probably filled with pictures of your pets. If you do have kids, your iPhone Camera Roll is probably filled with pictures of your kids with your pets. That means, unless you don't have pets at all, you'll want to take absolutely the best pictures you can of them. Not surprisingly, a lot of the iPhoneography tips we've covered previously also applies to pets, but there are some specific things to keep in mind -- and in frame!

Find light

I know I say this in every photography article I write, but that's because it really is that important. You need light. And it's especially important with pets because they move. A lot.

We learned about the reasons why having more light is important with moving subjects last week when learning how to take photos of our kids, so please check out that article to recall that information. To summarize, if you have more light, you have a greater chance of freezing your pet's motion. So it might be a good idea to head outside for Fido's big photo shoot!

Get down to your pet's level

One of the simplest things you can do that will drastically improve you photos is too get down to the eye-level of the pet you're photographing. This may mean squatting, getting on your knees, or for the real little ones, laying on your belly.

Posing tips

Posing pets is hard, but I've got a few tricks that will help get your pet to look at you with perked up ears and happy eyes. The biggest trick? Bribery.

Bribe your pet with his favorite food or toy. If your pet is a dog, it helps if he knows basic commands like sit and stay. Without food, my dogs will often look at me with their ears back and droopy eyes if I direct them somewhere and instruct them sit or lay down and stay. But if I have food or a toy in my hand, they look at me very intently and happily.

The other main thing you need to keep in mind is flexibility. Be willing to go with the flow. It's impossible for you to know what's going through your pet's head, so you need to flexible to his wants and needs. If you become frustrated and angry, your pet will sense that -- and that'll result in photos of a sad looking pet.

Here's a few more specific ideas to get you started:

  • For trained pets, have them stand, sit, and lay down for poses. Have that bribery ready for the happy expressions! Try taking the same photo from different angles.
  • Play with your pet and get actions shots. For pets jumping in the air, getting low to the ground and looking up at them will make it seem as though they are jumping higher
  • Scratch your pet's belly and take the photo from directly above
  • Be mindful of your background and how it may clash with your pet. You want your pet to stand out, not blend in.


Just as with portraits, catchlights in your pet's eyes will really help give your photos that extra aww-factor. Catchlights can literally change the mood of the photo from being moody and mysterious to happy and fun. If you're seeking out good light sources, this will actually happen naturally. The trick to catchlights is to make sure that your light source is hitting your pet's eyes. That's it.

Now go out and shoot!

So now that you're equipped with some tips for getting great photos of your pets, go out and practice! As always, please share your favorite photos with us in the iMore photography forum. Have fun!

How to get more help with iPhone photography