Grabbing attention through pictures: tips for the best pet photos

This is my first post in more than four weeks and I’m so excited to be back. I took some time off to focus on my mental health. I’ll be opening up about my journey in the coming days, but in the meantime I really wanted to get this post up! 

Whether fostering or adopting, so many people have opened their homes over the last few months to animals in need. Of course, we all want to share the cutest moments of our furry companion with friends and family. Additionally, if you’re fostering a pet, a good photo can have a major impact on that animal getting adopted. Since most of the adoption process is being done virtually right now, pictures are even more important. 

Luckily, we have a professional photographer to help us out. Margaret Rajic is beyond talented, just browse her published work to see all her stunning pictures. I’m so lucky to consider her not only my photographer, but also my friend. She was able to give us a few tips on how to capture the perfect photos of our pets! 

Most people have phones (vs beautiful cameras), what app should we use to take photos?

I use the Camera app that comes on every iPhone. The best camera is the most accessible one, and you can’t beat the handiness of that home screen button for fleeting candid moments. I always have the grid feature switched on so that I can use the lines to guide composition. (You can find it under Settings, Camera, and toggle Grid)

How should we position ourselves? Our pets?

When photographing pets, get low! Being on their level usually renders the best pet portrait results. 

What composition makes for a good photo? Background?

I tend to follow the rule of thirds – breaking up the photo into three parts (foreground, subject, and background) for a nice balanced image. I also leave a lot of negative space around the subject, so that cropping later on (for Instagram, usually!) doesn’t mean having to cut off tips of ears or tails. Here’s an example of how a photo can be composed:

What are your favorite editing apps?

All my iPhone photos are edited in the VSCO app. There are plenty of fun film-inspired filters, and they have a new feature that recommends filters based on your image.

How should we adjust the photo in editing apps?

The things I almost always adjust are exposure, white balance, and contrast. Once you play around with these tools a few times, you will quickly pick up on how they change the look of an image. The crop/straighten tool is also key if there are lines in your photo (a building, brick wall, sign, etc). 

What are your favorite filters?

My favorite filters in the VSCO app are A6 and S2.  

What makes for a good photo overall?

It’s very hard to go wrong in natural light. 99% of the photos on my dog Evie’s Instagram page are iPhone photos shot in natural light. If I’m inside, I turn off the lights and move near a window.  

Anything else you think is important?

Burst mode is king for pets! Shoot a bunch of images and pick the best one later. I recently upgraded my iPhone and panicked because I couldn’t find burst mode in the Camera app. Turns out it’s still there, you just have to swipe left on the “shutter” button!

Margaret is so wonderful and talented, I’m so appreciative of her time always. These photos are from one of my favorite shoots we did a few weeks ago with K 9 4 Keeps. Of course in these Margaret used her professional camera but you can still see all her tips in action! 


Myrtle was already adopted from K9 4 Keeps (yay Myrtle!!) but you can see all of their pups available for adoption


During COVID-19, it’s been sort of weird to shop because I haven’t been needing to wear anything special. Plus, we’re all watching our spending with the uncertainty of the pandemic. On the other hand, I really enjoy shopping and supporting local businesses. So, when I took a trip to The Shudio, I couldn’t resist this fun piece. Sheer is having a moment right now (see here, here, and here), the trend started last spring and has become more mainstream over the past year. 

I paired the dress with bike shorts, a tank, and my favorite Bhava shoes!



All photos: Margaret Rajic

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