Useful Photography Tips For Shooting Pets

Some of our readers work in a unique genre of photography called Pet Photography. I've always found it a bit ridiculous when my friends dress up their pets for photos but I guess if there is a market then there is money to be made. In this video, Julie Johnson gives some pretty useful tips for working with animals in a studio setting, and I must admit I was really impressed with her images. If you've ever had to work with pets then you know how difficult they can be at times. Even if pet photography isn't really your thing, you still may enjoy the ridiculous video made by Petco. Have any of our readers built a business around this sort of thing?
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How To Photograph Pets

Petco Halloween Photoshoot

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17 Comments

Im sorry, I want to focus on the photography, but this is super weird :S

Ever worked with bitchy models? Just a different kind of uncontrollable animal, haha!
Especially with the patronizing "Such a pretty princess! My goodness!"

Excellent! I bet the same tricks work with CEOs (sitting them high, making noises to get their attention...).

"...this is Paco.  He's my baby..."  Quick someone call the National Enquirer.  Woman gives birth to dog.

I'm an old-school pet lover and also think it's ridiculous to dress up animals. However, it's not so weird when you think of pets as being children substitutes for many people. Petco and PetSmart have made a mint off of that notion. Conversely, I have seen a lot of really cheesy kid and senior pictures with odd backgrounds and lighting, and which are not as high quality as Julie Johnson's. I agree that she has done a great job of bringing high standards to an unusual niche of the industry. If you can relate to these people, this is a great business opportunity.

Wow. How condescending the author's tone and these comments are. I'm not a pet photographer, but I don't see how this genre of photography is any less worthy of respect for the skill and expertise involve than any other. The tone of the author completely turns me off from this blog. I was under the impression this was a site for all photographers and not just the kids at the cool table. How is pet photography any more ridiculous than asking adult women to wear strange things on their bodies and stand in odd poses? Poorly done.

Youre right though cody, it's weird when we dress up bitches of any species and shoot them.  but there are degrees of weirdness. this one is as weird as I can imagine. its right along side people that light and shoot action figures on their bedroom dressers. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! I agree with Patrick, the final images look great :)

Patrick Hall's picture

Sorry Cody, I didn't mean for the post to come across condescending.  I personally feel like people who dress their children up and set them next to crazy props to be a bit strange as well.  I think the ridiculousness of the 2nd video make a stronger impression than the good tips from the first.  

Sean Shimmel's picture

In a world of expensive rails and obsessive time lapse renditions (beautiful as they are), it's refreshing to see a hard working, clearly taught approach to a simpler niche. We're all trying to make an honest living. This straightforward video offers legitimate wisdom and tested results.  

Kudos.

I saw the first video on the main page and proceeded to the full story, thinking, "oh, this is what I do this should be interesting," then seeing the Petco video on the full page, it WAS me. I have been photographing dogs in outfits, sweaters and costumes for over 15 years. I also photograph babies dressed up as animals for the halloween costume industry. I love what I do and I always have a great time, but believe me babies and animals are not easy subjects. I feel truly blessed to continue having such joy in what I do and to make a living doing it. I also photograph children to adult costumes for several companies that are wholesale to retailers such as Walmart, Target, KMart and Party City, so it is playtime all the time at the studio, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm shooting dogs and babies dressed up as each other this coming week for Animal Planet. Rawr!! Grrrrr! : )

Patrick Hall's picture

Ha that's awesome Dennis!  Any plans on making more videos?  Seeing pets in ridiculous outfits is pretty entertaining and I think I've sold a friend of mine into buying one of those outfits for Halloween from this video ha

Petco has their own video people on set, and we'll be doing their spring 2012 line in November, so we should see another video in early spring. There's another video link on my home page from a previous shoot. denniscovey.com. Too much fun. Interestingly my dogs would never dress up at all. They would look at the other dogs like they were crazy. : )

Seeing as Julie Johnson hasn't done this (she may have purchased a license) .....

The music in this video is bought to you by the fantastic musician Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com who selflessly and generously allows us the use of his music with no royalty fees under a "CC-attrib" license.

"Revival", ISRC: US-UAN-11-00476, by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons "Attribution 3.0" http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/"

Whoo hooo. Very funny, I laughed until my tummy hurt. 

Seems like it is more about the costumes than dogs? I would like to see more on how to light dogs... what styles of lighting suits different dog facial structure? Problem dogs, dogs on outdoor shoots and dog posing.

I'm starting to develop my business right now, and a big portion of my current work is pet photography. I have yet to start using costumes...but since Halloween is upon us, perhaps I should venture in that direction!

I hate those small rats they tend to call dogs these days...

Robert Zembrzycki's picture

I'm actually building a business around pet photography - www.psiefoty.pl   - this whole thing has been started by a friend of mine, and now we both do it and it's pretty awesome. The blog is in polish, unfortunately, but we are working on english version under a different adress aswell ;)