Five great tips for taking better pet photos — Do you want to take better pictures of your dog or cat? Here are five easy ways you can do that!

Ellen Zangla Photography, Dog Photographer, Loudoun County

1. Get Down on your Pet’s Level: Photographing from above, the way we normally see our pets, makes them look smaller, and it just isn’t as flattering. I am squatting down or sitting for most of my shots. Or lying on the ground if they are lying on the ground.

2. Get Closer: Make your dog or cat the primary subject of the photo rather than including extraneous elements, such as your neighbor’s house. The added benefit is that if you are using your phone or camera on automatic, the lighting on your pet will be better as your camera is reading the light from a smaller part of the scene.

Frenchie puppy photo, Puppy pictures, Loudoun County
Boston Terrier Photo, Ellen Zangla Photography, Dog Photographer, Loudoun County

3. Get Their Attention and Be Ready to Take the Photo: Make a sound to get your pet’s attention. High-pitched noises often work, as do words that they know and respond to, such as “treat” or “want to go for a ride” (use high-pitched inflection at the end of the word or phrase). Squeaky toys work well and you also can download apps with sounds specifically for getting your dog’s attention. Dogs will generally look in the direction of the noise, so if you want your dog to look at the camera, the key is to have the noise come from as close to your lens as possible. When getting their attention, be ready to take the photo. Many dogs will start to ignore attention-getting noises, so don’t waste that great head tilt if you are not ready to click! Cats tend to respond better to visual cues, so try waving a feather or using a laser pointer to get their interest.

4. Have your Pet Face the Sun: Whether it’s a still shot or an action one, have your pet face the direction of the sun. It will put great light in their eyes, which will help bring your photo to life!

Dog Photographer, Loudoun County, Ellen Zangla Photography
Cat pictures, Ellen Zangla Photography, Loudoun County

5. Photograph them Regularly: Sadly, we know it is likely that we will outlive our pets. When they are gone, we have our memories and hopefully great photos to remember them by.

Do you have any questions? Or suggestions you’d like to add? Email me at and I will share them in a future blog post.

Ellen Zangla Photography: Pet portraits with personality!

Certified Professional Photographer, M.Photog., PPA 2017 Bronze Medal Photographer of the Year

My pets, two cats and two dogs, are an integral part of my life. I absolutely adore them! Like other family members who we love, I feel that it is incredibly important to have portraits of them that capture the essence of who they are, whether they are regal or goofy (or both!) or somewhere in between. I also love capturing the relationships people have with their fur babies! If you feel the same way about your dog, cat or other fur or scaled kid, here’s how you can learn more about how a pet photo shoot with me works. Or feel free to contact me. I am an award-winning pet photographer specializing in photographs of pets and pets with their people. I serve all of Northern Virginia, including Loudoun, Fairfax, Leesburg, Ashburn and Reston, as well as the DC Metro area, and I would love to create pet portraits that you will treasure for a lifetime.