© Christie Newell

8 Tips When Hiring a Professional Pet Photographer

Have you ever wondered how pet photographers capture those candid, playful poses that make pictures come to life in front of your eyes? Pet photography is a very particular niche… the dogs and cats run the show! That means there are special challenges that come with getting the perfect photo of your pet. But a great pet photographer knows how to capture the spirit and beauty of your furry pal forever.

What should you look for when hiring a professional pet photographer? Below are some things to keep in mind and ask:

The photographer should have experience working with animals and be able to bring out their unique personality and beauty. Great pet photographers know how to engage with pets and capture your favorite companions in a way that will make you smile. Ideally, you want to hire a PPA (Professional Photographers of America) pet photographer. PPA photographers have the training, experience, artistic eye and equipment to produce gallery-quality portraits. PPA pet photographers will not only provide you with images that you never thought possible, but will shoot with color and composition in mind. Plus, they will take care of fine tuning your images: removing eye bugs, the leash from the photo, people in the background, and enhancing fur details and colors.

Pets run the show, so a session can take over two hours if your pet is not cooperative. Let the photographer get comfortable with your furry friends so that they can do whatever’s needed to photograph your pet. For example, pros will often get down on the ground with camera in one hand and your pet’s favorite toys in the other to capture that perfect shot. Also, make sure that the photographer has a pet-friendly studio or is willing to drive to your home or the location you want your pet photographed in. This is for your convenience as much as to ensure your pet will find a friendly environment that will create the best possible conditions for your pet’s photo session.

Those playful, cuddly puppies and kittens will change right before your eyes. Blink and you could miss it! You’ll want to capture these fleeting moments so that you will be able to remember them when your furry pal becomes an adult (and later a senior). This is the sweetest and most innocent phase of your pet’s life, so the sooner you immortalize it in photography, the better. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to create memorabilia of these precious days.

The unconditional love you receive from these wonderful creatures is only for a short time. Capture those precious moments of your loyal companion in photographs before it’s too late. Many people book “rainbow sessions” for pets that are nearing the end of life, whether due to old age or an illness. It’s great to get those photo opportunities in before it’s too late, but why not take photos of your furry pal every couple of years when he or she is still strong and healthy? That way when they do pass, you’ll have something to illustrate their whole life.

Pet photographers work many different angles to capture your pet’s unique personality. Imagine the action shots, the cute poses and expressions framed perfectly on your wall, in larger than life proportions. It’s a great way to elevate the atmosphere of a room while paying homage to your furry friend.

Pets can convey many characteristics. From a lazy cat yawning to a playful puppy, your photographer should always schedule your sessions according to your pet’s personality. If you have a wild puppy or kitten, schedule your session when you know your pet will be tired out. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your pet is lazy, this could be great for capturing close-up shots. It’s imperative for a professional photographer to capture your pet’s true essence!

Professional photographers know how to use light to make your pet look their best whether it is in their studio, in your home or backyard, or at your favorite park. They have the expertise, artistry and equipment to beautifully light and capture the unique features of your pet. Worried that your black dog will look like a blob or your white dog will have no detail in their coat? No need to worry with a pro! Whether they use natural light, location flashes, or studio strobes, pros know how to use light to show detail in your dog's fur and make them look their best.

A great professional pet photographer will always capture photographs of your pet’s eyes. Look for plenty of images showing pets’ eyes when viewing photographers’ portfolios. It truly is amazing to see their beautiful eyes full of expression!