Becoming a pet owner is a more life-changing event than many people realize when they set out to choose a new addition to their family. Within a short space of time, a new dog or cat takes up a space in your heart that you didn’t know was empty. They are forever a part of your family and not just an animal.

Your pet becomes an integral part of your life; he is there for all of life’s monotonous daily moments. He greets you when you wake up, when you get in from work, and cuddles on your lap before bedtime. He’s also there for life’s milestones; birthday’s, family bbq’s, the birth of children. He is a constant presence, always offering unconditional love and affection.

Celebrating Maui's 7th birthday.

Celebrating Maui's 7th birthday.

Time passes quickly, and before you know it, your pet has transformed from puppy or kitty to a fully mature dog or cat. He changes as if before your eyes; blink and you could miss it! In the world of smartphones and modern technology, you take frequent snaps of your beloved pet until your phone memory is full to capacity in an attempt to capture him at every phase in his life. Unfortunately, these low resolution images don’t print well, and your pet can not be proudly displayed in frames in your home, as he deserves.

How many photos of your dog or cat do you have in your smart phone? 

How many photos of your dog or cat do you have in your smart phone? 

The solution to this problem is to hire a professional pet photographer. The pet photography business is gaining lots of attention, so choosing the right one is becoming extremely challenging. A conventional photographer, who photographs anything to everything, may not comprehend the art of taking the best pet portraits.


How to choose the right photographer for your beloved pet?

First, you need to look for a specialist. There are many styles of pet photography, such as documentary, traditional, photojournalistic, fine arts, abstract, and studio. The vast amount of options can make the choice seem daunting, but we have some easy to follow guidelines that will make choosing your pet photographer foolproof.


1. Generalist vs Specialist

While not all amateur photographers are created equal, the best way to ensure you receive quality work is to hire a seasoned professional with a solid background.

This is the first step toward success choosing the right photographer for you. Generalists are the ones who shoot a bit of everything: newborns, pets, weddings, landscape, etc. Pets do require an experienced photographer to have their pictures taken. The photographer must understand animals and be able to engage them to get the best out of them. Check the photographer’s experience and background and ensure he or she is a professional and has a career that backs up what he or she does with a gallery representation, awards, magazines, and blog features. Every pet is a unique character and being able to be patient with pets is not enough. You need to ensure that the candidate has experience working with animals, and ideally, can provide some references from previous customers.


2. Choose the Photography Style: Studio vs Outdoor/Indoor

Studio photography requires that your pet be taken to an unknown environment, which could cause nervousness. Studio photography can be very stressful for the pets. They not only have to stay quiet in the same spot for long periods of time, but the whole setup can be overwhelming when you consider all of the lights and bright flashes.

Photo courtesy of Keith Stenhouse.

Photo courtesy of Keith Stenhouse.

Outdoor photography, also known as “on location” photography, has great benefits. In the case of a dog, outdoors means exercise and having a great time. Having an incredible pet photographer will make no difference if your pet is stressed or unhappy, so considering how the location will affect them is key. In the case of senior dogs, puppies, or cats, indoor is a good alternative to outdoors. As long as the pet feels comfortable, the pictures will turn out great.


To know more about Studio photography vs Outdoor photography, read this post.


3. Choose the Photographer’s Style

Although many pet photographers use digital cameras, there are still some more traditional ones using film. Do you prefer film or digital? Do you want black and white or color? Each one comes with pros and cons, and depends on your personal preference. It’s important to spend some time checking the photographer’s portfolio to see if his/her style is what you are looking for.


4. Know The Process

If possible, schedule a pre-session consultation with your top two photographers. Discuss your project, what you are looking for, how the session works, and your expectations, and use the time to clarify any questions you may have. The consultation will help you get to know each other and you’ll get a better feeling of which pet photographer will be right for you.


5. The Investment

Figure out your budget and compare what each photographer includes in the price, but don’t let this be the deciding factor. Price is often a synonym for quality, not only in terms of products but also in customer service. Do you want a shoot-n-burn photographer or somebody who can prepare a tailored session for you and your pet? Do you want to buy a few 8x10 prints or do you want gallery-quality art pieces? You will pay once, but a few years from now, you won’t remember how much it cost you, only how wonderful and unique your pet was.

Framed Fine Art photo of a Greyhound. Perfect to decorate your home or office.

Framed Fine Art photo of a Greyhound. Perfect to decorate your home or office.

Although choosing the right pet photographer can be a time consuming process, it is vital that you invest some time searching for local dog or cat photographers that will be able to capture your pet’s personality in the best way possible.


If you are looking for a pet photographer in San Francisco or in the Bay Area, I'd love to work with you. Contact me now to schedule your free session consultation and let's get your project started!

Frame Your Pet’s Mission:

To provide customized services in a professional and personal manner to create timeless high-end pet photography artwork exceeding client satisfaction and expectations.




Book your free consultation

Let's meet and discuss your hopes for this project.


Subscribe and download your FREE Magazine.