Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a professional photographer who just *LOVES* to create beautiful portraits of “average” cats and dogs. Because the truth is that our pets present some of the most challenging─and rewarding─portrait subjects to be found. And they can teach us a lot about photographing their human companions.

Sure, we all stand around from time to time, camera in hand, taking snapshots of our cats while they sit on windowsills and stare out at…well, whatever it is they like to stare out the window at.

We wait, watching them patiently, hoping to capture something unique. Something that’s more than just a snapshot─a portrait that captures a special moment in our pets life, tells a story about that streak of individuality that exists in every animal, or that makes you say to yourself “I wonder what she’s thinking?”

And just like a human child, our pets can be terribly uncooperative.  They don’t listen; they have a mind completely their own; they can’t be placed into a pose; and they are even harder to bribe into submission than a six year-old boy or girl during a a family portrait session!

But in between those moments of stubborn and independent indignation we are rewarded in both cases with a tremendous amount of character, personality, and sometimes spontaneous bursts of enthusiasm and energy.

In the end, creating an amazing portrait of your pet isn’t all that different from photographing a family member. It requires you to connect with your subject and have an understanding of their unique personality. You need to develop a vision for your photograph and decide on the mood you want to convey and the story you wish to tell. And above all, patience, timing, and a mastery of the camera and other equipment you use to capture the image is critical to the success of any portrait─pet or person.

Be sure to click on the images in this post to see larger versions.  If you would like help capturing a beautiful portrait of your favorite family member (human or otherwise), click here to contact me and let’s start a conversation!