Tips for Studio-Style Pet Portraits


Beautiful to see the interaction of the dog during the photography session. Brendan gives us some pointers on shooting high quality pet portraits.


Some of his pointers:

Minimize distractions for the pet. Have some ready treats if the shelter or owner allows it. Dogs like sounds so a squeaky toy might help to get their attention. Having an assistant to keep the dog on a leash will help to control the animal.

For the camera set up he used Auto focus, a 50mm lens (allows you to use a wide open aperture) with the following settings: f/1.8 – 1/250 – ISO100.

For the lighting the Westcott D5 was used which is continues lighting, a flash light might startle the animals. Please be patient and calm during the session, avoid anything that could stress the animal and have fun.


Additional pointers:

You can also use the “continues shooting mode” with portrait sessions (another argument for using continuous lighting avoiding problems with max sync speeds and refresh times), capturing about 5 frames a second. Very useful when you have an animal that moves around rapidly.

f/1.8 works well for cats – it keeps most of their faces in focus while blurring the background. For dogs you will need a deeper depth of field, f/2.8 or higher. The distance between their nose and their eyes is much greater than a cats and requires a deeper depth of field to get the whole face in focus.


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