The lighting is perfect. The wind is just right. The camera is ready and your finger is itching to snap the shutter. All the elements have come together perfectly to create a beautiful portrait of your best friend – oh, wait, what’s this?

Hang on, the model is licking his unmentionables again. Now he’s scratching. He just noticed a bird – and he’s off!

Sound familiar? Taking a good pet photo is an extreme sport. Here’s how to get the best pet photos this festive season.

1. Be patient with your four paws

Pets love to explore and get excited when they see their favourite human. It’s hard for them to strike a pose when you’re that close.

Grab your pet’s favourite blanket and toys for the shoot. Make sure that your pooch or kitty is comfortable and calm before you take on the role of pup-arazzi.

It might take a few minutes, so be patient with your poser.

2. Get your camera settings on point

While you wait for your model to get ready for their shoot, make sure that your camera’s ready to roll. Here’s where the extreme sport photography comes in. CreativeLive suggests that you use a fast shutter speed (1/250), continuous focus and burst mode for your pet pics. It will capture any movement purr-fectly.

If you’re using a phone, it’s best to switch the flash and camera noise off as it might frighten your pet.

3. Get your level and angle ready for rocking photos

Get on an eye-to-eye level with your furry friend so the lens can see the world through their eyes and highlight their beauty. Using natural light (such as close to a window or outdoors) will bring out the colour of their eyes.

“To really make those puppy dog eyes pop, make sure the camera focuses on the eyes by using single-point autofocus area and moving the focal point over one of the pet’s eyes”, says photography expert, Hillary Grigonis.

TIP: Never take a picture of your pet from high above or below. It flattens their form.

4. Grab your four-legged poser’s attention

It’s not like you can tell them to say “cheese!” or ask them to look directly into the lens. That’s why it’s important to grab their attention in other ways. Snap your fingers, offer them a healthy treat or get a squeaky toy to do the trick.

TIP: Dogs are known to respond to cat sounds; cats are known to ignore, well, almost everything.

5. Take a few pictures and frame them

Take at least 25 good photos and choose your favourites for framing. Remember that the job’s not done until you’ve rewarded your pawed poser with a treat for their modelling gig.

Here are more pet photography tips:

Have you heard about our NEW #PetPicFails competition?

Share your #PetPicFails with us and you could WIN a Pawsome Pet Box or YAP Trrreats for your little poser! Share your #PetPicFails on the dotsure.co.za pet Facebook page from 25 November to 10 December 2020 for a chance to spoil your furry friend.

Ready, steady, snap!

*Competition T&Cs Apply