Pet Portrait Photography Tips
Welcome to Pipistrelle Art’s tips and tricks to help you get that ideal photo of your pet to have a commissioned portrait of your animal friend.

First of all, we do not chase your furry, or not so furry, companion around your house and garden with a sketchbook in our hands and we have no idea about tranquilizers or chloroform…!

So after, you have scoured through your phone and the files on your computer or tablet, you’ve done the photo albums and the stack of old prints in the drawers but have still found nothing that you’d like to have made into a beautiful piece of art.  Worry not, we are here to help.

Whether you use a phone or a more conventional camera our little guide will help you get the images you desire…


In this day and age of megapixels and high-tech imagery this should not really be a problem, but poor focus can be an issue.  Generally speaking, focus on the eyes and make sure they are pin-sharp.  Depending on the distance from the camera, the lens, usually on auto-focus, may focus on the whole of the animal, so, if you can manually focus or simply make sure the eyes are beautifully bright and sharp, then we are off to a great start.

Also, remember to stabilize your camera or phone as best as you can.  Either use both hands or rest your device on a surface to avoid any ‘camera shake’ and lack of focus.

Whilst you are gazing lovingly into your pet’s eyes get down to their level.  Usually, this will give the perfect perspective for your image.  Should you be photographing your dog or cat then hit the floor, on your knees, or catch them when they are on your sofa, just get to their eye-level.   If you have a pet worm or a giraffe then you may have to get inventive!

If you are photographing outside then the eyes will shine perfectly for you, but if you are indoors then try and catch them near a light or white wall as this will give your pet’s eyes that special glow. Which leads us neatly onto our next subject – light.

Perfect Photo, Clear, Good Colours, not too bright and focus on the Eyes.
Too Dark, Eyes are not clear and the focus is on the nose. As cute as this photo is it would not be good to work with for me.

‘Soft light’. That is what you are after.  If you are inside try photographing your pet next to a large window on a sunny day, if possible, but not in direct sun.  If the light is too bright control it with the curtains or blinds.  Not having direct sun is the secret.  When you are outside and it is bright and sunny, find a shady spot, under a tree for example, and your pet’s eyes will sparkle, and you will not lose detail in your photograph.  Should you be shooting in cloudy conditions then do not worry – this is perfect.

And one further thing to mention about light…Never use the FLASH!!

If any light is too bright then the image will be ‘blown-out’ and the true colours of your animal subject will not be shown in the photo, as well as hair direction and markings etc.

It’s Treat Time.

Make you and your pet’s photoshoot as much fun as possible.  This will stop both of you becoming stressed and accomplishing very little.  Keep your animal’s attention with treats. If you want them to look in a certain direction hold or wave a treat where you want them to look.  Or better still, see if you can find an assistant to help!  If you do not want to use treats, try their favourite toys.  Toys with ‘squeakers’ are ideal; try whistling or calling your pet to keep their attention.  But the most important thing is to be patient.  It will keep your furry friend happy!  Pet photography is not easy…

You may already have the perfect photos that you wish to have turned into a work of art.  That lucky snap, or carefully planned image, either way they can be used to make a graphite pencil-work or full colour picture of your pet.  Should you have photos that are not your own, from a professional photographer, for example, then we will need their written permission to use these images.  This is just a legal formality due to copyright laws and rights of ownership etc.  If they are your own pictures and you wish to go ahead with a commission, please feel free to contact me and it will be my pleasure and honour to work with you.

Please contact me if you have any questions or are wanting more information about a Pet Portrait.

I look forward to seeing your lovely animal family members.

My models today are Tiva the Brindle Lurcher – always happy to strike a pose, and Jack the Saluki Lurcher – Who knows just how gorgeous he is. My Fur-babies.

Thank You and Good Luck getting those snaps.

Phaedra, Pipistrelle Art


Call me on Tel: 07955 723 444

Or Email at: hello@pipistrelleart.co.uk

Email me for a chat about your pet.