Puppies and kittens—they’re absolutely adorable and they grow so quickly! They’re also squirmy, completely untrained, and can be very challenging to photograph. Here are five tips to help you take better puppy and kitten pictures.

1. Get down on their level. When I photograph puppies and kittens I am usually sitting or lying on the ground. Photographing them at their level shows their true size. Shooting down on them, the way we normally look at them (and the way most people photograph them), makes them look smaller. Photographing puppies and kittens at their level also can give you a better view of their entire body.

Loudoun County, Pet Photographer, Puppy photos, Ellen Zangla Photography

2. Photograph them with a recognizable object to provide a sense of scale. In my house, football is “king,” so I photographed Lola with a football at regular intervals. Not only did that show how big she was at different ages, but it also provided an easy way for us to see how much she had grown between shoots. We see our pets every day, so it can be hard to see how much bigger they are getting. In the photos below, Lola is two months old, four months old, and nine months old, respectively. Having the football in each photo really made it easy for us to see how much bigger she’d gotten!

Puppy photo, Ellen Zangla Photography, Loudoun County VA, Ellen Zangla Photography
Puppy photos, Loudoun County, Dog Photographer, Ellen Zangla Photography
Puppy photos, Ellen Zangla Photography, Dog Photographer, Norhtern Virginia

3. Photograph them in the same location from the same angle at regular intervals. Photographing them from the same angle each time keeps the perspective the same, and photographing them in the same location gives you a consistent reference point. We know how much they grow, but when you have a point of comparison like this to look back on, you will be amazed at how small they were! Also, the bigger your dog (or cat) is going to get, the more frequently you should photograph them because their change in size is more dramatic.

The collage below is one that comes with my “Watch Me Grow” plan, where I photograph puppies or kittens three times over the course of a year.

Puppy photos, Ellen Zangla Photography, Loudoun County

4. Get them off the ground. Because they are so little, puppies and kittens can look lost if they are just sitting on the ground. Try putting them on a chair, box, (or tricycle!) to elevate them and give them more presence. This also works well for photographing cats and smaller dogs.

Ellen Zangla Photography, Loudoun County Pet Photographer, Kitten Photo
Ellen Zangla Photography, Dog Photographer, Loudoun County, Puppy Photo, French Bulldog Puppy Picture

5. Try shooting from a low angle. Another way to give puppies and kittens more presence—and make them look more regal—is to photograph them from a slightly lower angle. That angle makes them look a little bigger and is something most people don’t do, so it is a little different and unexpected. This also can help put them in areas of the background that are more attractive. If I hadn’t put the Golden Retriever puppy in the photo below on a box and gotten lower than him, the tree trunk, rather than the leaves, would have been in the background.

Ellen Zangla Photography, Puppy photos, Leesburg VA
Puppy photo, Ellen Zangla Photography, Northern Virginia

Ellen Zangla Photography: Pet portraits with personality!

M.Photog., Certified Professional Photographer

Professional Photographers of America: 2018 Bronze Medal Photographer of the Year

My pets, one dog and four cats, are an integral part of my life. I absolutely adore them. Like other family members whom we love, I feel that it is incredibly important to have portraits of them that capture the essence of who they are, whether they’re regal or goofy (or both!) or somewhere in between. If you feel the same way about your dog, cat or other fur or scaled kid, here’s how you can learn more about a pet photoshoot with me works. Or feel free to contact me.

I am a 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 the DC Metro area, and I would love to create portraits of your pets that reflect how you feel about them and that you will treasure for a lifetime!