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Top Pet Photographers Share Their Secrets

Getting your energetic dog or camera-shy cat to strike the perfect pose for Instagram may seem nigh on impossible, but pet photographers manage it on a daily basis. How do they do it? Australia’s top animal photographers take you behind the scenes and share their secrets, so you too can capture your pet’s best side.

Studio Noah
About the photographer: This busy studio has been in the business for more than 22 years, 13 of which have been exclusively focused on pets and their owners. Studio Noah lets each client choose the location of the shoot, ensuring you and your pet feel totally at ease and take home a unique set of portraits.

Tip from the professional: Due to the various scenic locations chosen by clients, Studio Noah are experts in open air photography. To best catch your pet interacting naturally with their environment they recommend shooting either early morning or late afternoon. An overcast day is also ideal, as the light in those conditions captures your pet's details without producing harsh shadows.

Love Pets Photography
About the photographer: As the name suggests, the staff at this studio must love dogs, as they have made it their mission to help those in need by contributing to the Animal Welfare League. Their approach is all about celebrating the love a pet brings into your life. “Each pet is photographed doing what it loves best, from playing to sleeping – or just giving that one look that melts your heart”, says the studio.

Tip from the professional: Keep backgrounds uncluttered and the composition clean. There’s nothing worse than taking the perfect shot to only find a distracting street sign, light pole or tree branch in the background. Try framing your shot using some existing elements in the foreground such as foliage, a doorframe or a window.

Houndstooth Studio 
About the photographer: Internationally renowned Creative Director Alex Cearns, photographs over 1300 cuddly creatures each year. As the recipient of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Terrestrial Photographer of the Year prize, Cearns is also passionate about the wellbeing of our four-legged friends. She is the photographer for three books and has a fourth soon to be published.

Tip from the professional: The most important element of successful pet photography, according to Cearns, is to make it fun. This means creating an environment where your dog can relax and feel safe. Their happiness shines through in their facial expressions and body language when they’re at ease.

Ruff ‘n’ Stuff Pet Photography
About the photographer: The opportunity to combine her two favourite things, animals and photography, made starting a pet-centric studio a no brainer for Ruff ‘n’ Stuff founder, Helen Trenerry. In her words she has the “Best.Job.EVER!” A certification in dog training helps her get the best out of any pet on set.

Tip from the professional: Always try to make sure that there is enough natural light reflecting in your dog’s eyes. If there's not, its eyes may look flat and lifeless. However, don’t resort to using an in-built flash, these usually make the eyes look overly bright and transparent, which is not the look you want!

Roka Pet Photography 
About the photographer: Roka Pet’s top photographer Rodrigo initially filmed weddings and human portraits, but since turning his focus to dogs, he's never looked back. The animal lover, who's won several international awards for his work, says the unpredictability of the sessions fuel his passion for pet photography.

Tip from the professional: Try to have a plain, clutter-free background, especially if you’re taking photos inside. Make sure your dog is poised in front of a plain wall without objects like bins or chairs that distract from the subject and make the picture look messy. More advanced photographers can also crop the final image to remove objects.

Pawsnap Pet Photography
About the photographer: Pawsnap photographer Tina Dial's enjoys taking actions shots of dogs at the beach. Most canines adore the seaside, she says, and really show off their personality when they’re outdoors. Pawsnap also has its very own studio for formal shots, which it uses to snap photos of rescue cats and dogs in need of adoptive homes.

Tip from the professional: Get creative by getting close – it doesn’t always have to be the whole animal, and they don’t always have to be looking at the camera. This is a sure fire way to end up with a unique portrait of your pet.

Pitter Patter Photography
About the photographer: Pitter Patter takes joy in getting to know what your fur baby means to you. They leverage the relationship between dogs and their owner in order to create a series that reflects this bond.

Tip from the professional: Use your pet's favourite things to lure their attention in the direction you want. Whether your dog loves food or a squeaky toy, be sure to have these at hand and use them to grab their attention just before you click.

PAWtraits Pets and People Photography Melbourne
About the photographer: “Photographing pets is full of surprises, just like photographing kids,” says Julie Ewing of PAWtraits Pets and People, “No two pets are the same.” The studio’s dedication to animals extends off camera as well, having raised $8,000 for animal charities through their project PAWtraits, a successful coffee table book full of pets and their loving owners.

Tip from the professional: Don’t expect your furry friend to play by the rules, it will depend on the breed and by how much obedience training they’ve had. If you’re using sounds to grab their attention make sure that you mix it up, otherwise your dog might get bored and lose interest. If your dog is running around, you'll just need to do your best and use a very fast shutter speed to capture the action!

twoguineapigs pet photography
Eleven years ago, two guinea pigs inspired the founder of this studio to take up photography, which now documents the lives of pets and their people through photographs, specialising in wall art and custom albums. It has also completed commercial commissions to help local designers and small businesses tell their brand stories.

Tip from the professional: Have respect for the subject. Even though he or she is an animal, they shouldn't become objects of obsession. Use patience and love to gain their trust. Be respectful of an animal’s sensitivity to their surroundings and to the people around them.

When it comes to pet photography, the devil is in the detail. In order to catch that cheeky look or trademark trick you’ll need to be equipped with more than just a good camera. Try combining our pro tips with a fun attitude and a good dollop of patience and you’ll be well on you way to capturing an Instagram-worthy moment or two!