Photo Tip Friday: Tips for Active Pet Photography

by Mary Denman   @MaryDenman

If you have pets, you know how hard taking pictures can be. They love to run and play and move fast. 

We're going to go over tips for taking active pet photos.

While stopping the action can be great, catching some of your pet's motion can reflect their personality. 

Let's get started.

PHOTO 1: This shot shows one of the biggest problems in taking active pet pictures. It's too blurry. 
PHOTO 1: Cute fur ball!

How do you correct for this? 

TIP 1: Use a higher ISO of 400 or higher if needed. 
TIP 2: Use a flash. This will stop the action better, but pets often get white or red eyes if you use a flash. (My camera doesn't have a flash so I shoot everything without one. That's just my personal preference.)

COLLAGE 1 & 2: This is a series where I corrected the ISO problem and Lady and Kuzco are in focus for the most part. I like the slight blur from their movement. 
COLLAGE 1: Series of Lady
COLLAGE 2: Kuzco in action!
TIP 3: Take a series of your pet in action. You can catch some great expressions this way. Too, pets move so quickly that not every shot will turn out well. By taking lots of shots, you can increase your chances of getting interesting shots. 

PHOTO 2: This is Kuzco yawning after his rest.
PHOTO 2: Huge roar...I mean yawn.
TIP 4: Sit with your pet. Be ready for sweet moments like this. 

PHOTO 3: This is Kuzco reaching for the ribbon.
PHOTO 3: Cuzco playing with ribbon.
TIP 4: Get down on your pet's level. It changes the dynamics of the shots. I lay on the floor for this one.

PHOTO 4: Kuzco relaxing during play time.
PHOTO 4: Kuzco chilling out.
TIP 5: Get above your pet and take a looking down.

PHOTO 5: Cuzco looking at the ribbon. 
PHOTO 5: Cuzco and his favorite ribbon
TIP 6: Get a close-up. I love this shot of Cuzco reaching for his ribbon. It was a fleeting moments, but so sweet. 

TIP 7: Try turning your camera on an angle. This adds interest to the photo.

PHOTO 6: Kuzco jumping up to play with Lady.
PHOTO 6: Kuzco playing. 
TIP 7: Grab your camera when your pets are playing. That's when I caught this shot of Kuzco in the air. 

You may laugh but a lot of theses tips apply to children too. Getting down on their level, having a higher ISO and needing to spend time with them can make the difference in good and great shots! 

Here are some older posts with more tips:
Tips for taking Pet Portraits, Part 1
Tips for taking Active Pet Pictures, Part 2
Know and use your ISO to Stop Action
Photograph Action or Sports Shots, Part 1
Photograph Action or Sports Shots, Part 2

ASSIGNMENT: If you have a pet, go play with them and try out different techniques. Stand above them, get on their level, move with them! 

Hope these tips help.
Keep on clicking!




  1. Thanks for these tips! I have two pugs and they are very, very cute but I always struggle to get decent action shots of either of them. I will be having a go at some of your suggestions - thanks for sharing!

    1. You're so welcome Kristy! Check out some of the links for more suggestions.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Great tips, Mary. I'm enjoying your photo tips.
    You're welcome to share at

    1. Thanks Sue! I'm so glad you're enjoying them!

  3. Great photos of the kitties, they are so cute. Our cats are black what suggestions would you have for taking photos of them.