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As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when it comes to pet photography, there are some tricks you can learn to improve your cat photo shoots or dog photography. Whether you want a selfie to post on social media, a family photo or a pet portrait, follow these picture-perfect tips:

Avoid using a flash when photographing your pet. Even though flash photography will not result in permanent damage or even discomfort to your pet, a bright flash may frighten some animals and cause them to be afraid of the camera. Also, the flash could result in “red-eyes” and cause your dog or cat to appear flat, which is definitely un-flat-tering. Professional photographers recommend using indirect natural light. Of course, with four-legged subjects, it may not always be easy to position your subject, so you may have to move in order to get the best light. Also, the best times to take outdoor pet photos is mid-morning or late afternoon when the light is naturally golden and filtered. If you are shooting indoors, try to avoid strong direct light, and make sure the lighting is even, unless you are trying for a dramatic shoot with specific lighting.

Pets are naturally curious, especially in new situations. While your pet may be accustomed to you snapping selfies, planning a more formal photo session will pique your pet’s interest, so make sure to allow time for your cat or dog to get used to the equipment, setting and the process. Make sure your pet is not thirsty or hungry and has had a chance to exercise beforehand. Keep distractions to a minimum, provide reassurance and praise, stay positive and have fun because your good attitude will set the best environment for your pet. If you are going to dress your pet in an outfit, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable. Have your pet try it on before the actual photo shoot.

Taking your pets picture should always be fun. Afterall, it’s impossible for your furry model to take a bad picture. But in order to get the perfect shot, you have to be patient. This is especially true when it comes to pet photo shoots or any kind of animal photography for that matter. Keep it fun and try different poses. Get on the floor and take photos eye-to-eye instead of always from above. If you are taking a portrait of your pet, try holding a favorite toy or treat (like a piece of cheese, so you can literally tell your pet to “say cheese) just above the camera so your pet will be looking right at the lens.

According to the pros as, you may try to get your pet’s attention by making an unusual noise because calling your pet’s name may be confusing since your pet will think you are calling them to come to you. Also, there’s no such thing as too many photos of your pet. Take lots and lots of photos including posed shots and candid shots. Let your pet act naturally and the best photos will capture your pet’s personality. This will expand your portfolio choices when it comes to selecting your favorite photos. Afterall, the only way to get that one-in-a-million photo of your pet is to take a million photos.