Capture Your Inner Pet


Photographing Your Pet

After photographing people and products for over twenty years, an opportunity to photograph people and their pets landed at my studio. After seeing a pet calendar I did for the Nevada Humane Society, the American Pet Products Association contracted for an annual calendar featuring dogs, cats, turtles, snakes, horses, frogs and gold fish. It’s been a successful project for the trade association that represents manufacturers of everything imaginable for your pets. After working with pets for these calendar projects, I've come to love their personalities and unpredictability. It's patience, skill, art, and knowledge of the technical side of photography that helps me capture the moment that reveals the "inner pet," I’d like to share with you some of the things learned over the years working with all types of animals.

Think Like Your Pet

The first thing I learned was not to project human emotions upon the pets. Unlike photographing executives or fashion models, I wasn’t able to reason with my new subjects. They had their own agenda and I had to learn what motivated them, just because I had a great idea for a photograph didn’t mean they shared my vision. Universally pets crave approval and attention, a little treat also goes a long way. With the more exotic animals I usually use a professional trainer/handler for the safety of the pet and myself.


For some of the more complicated shots I’ve done for calendars, we have spent hours setting up props and lighting. Never lose sight of the fact that your pet will lose interest in the photo shoot well before you do. Give the animal breaks often, it will calm heir nerves as well as your own. Don’t expect to get that award winning shot in five minutes.

Digital vs Film

I still shoot film for certain projects, but there has to be a reason to do so. The costs involved and the inconvenience of changing rolls right when your pet is posing perfectly are a couple of reasons to shoot with a digital camera. The handicap with most inexpensive digital cameras is the delay between pushing the shutter button and the camera actually making the exposure. With a fast moving subject like a pet I recommend a single lens reflex digital camera, the quality has gone up and prices down to the point of affordability for most serious amateur photographers.


Virtually all modern cameras have a built-in flash, unfortunately the quality of the light coming from these is not ideal for great pet photography. Using an auxiliary flash that can be positioned off to the side of the camera is usually much better, the on-camera flash can be used to trigger this side light while also providing fill light for the shadow areas.

Commercial Photography

Do Not Attempt This At Home! We work with an experienced group of experienced animal trainers and their talent for our commercial photo shoots. Then we spend hours in post-production to create award-winning images for our clients.

Professional Photography

If you feel some things are best left to the professionals, then we look forward to meeting you and your pet(s)! Contact us

tell tail portraits 775-852-1243

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