Pet Photography: How To Set Up Your Studio

The studio set-up for a pet photography business is essential. The equipment used and its placement will create an optimal environment for professional quality shots.

By just following a few steps, you can create the right studio environment for furry subjects. This is the equipment you will need.

  • Digital SLR camera
  • Tripods
  • Monolight kit (soft box, moonlight, strobe flash)
  • Extra lights
  • Background(s)
  • Toys and treats

Step 1 - Create Your Background

The focus of pet photography is the pet, so the backgrounds that you use should a single neutral color. To add texture, you can use fabric. Seamless paper may also be used. Fabric or paper can be held up by a background support system, or you can use removable tape to hang them up on a wall. You can also use more than one background per photo session.

Step 2 - Set the Scene

A stage or riser covered in fabric is commonly used for positioning the pet in front of the camera. This is set up about 3 feet from the background, in the center. You can keep it simple or add props such as toys or holiday decorations to set the scene.

Step 3 - Camera Set-Up

Your digital camera, mounted on a tripod, should be set up about 3 feet from your subject. This can be adjusted if necessary.

Step 3 - Add Lighting

The background can be lit using backdrop lights on tripods to the left and right of the background. This will also help to illuminate the fur of the pet. The use of a monolight strobe flash unit will also help to counteract any shadows.

Step 4 - Have Toys and Treats Ready

Within hand's reach, have a basket with toys and treats. Squeak toys work well for grabbing a pet's attention. Make sure to have a variety of toys available that squeak at different pitches or make different noises. A whistle can also be used to create an alert expression on a pet's face. You can throw toys in the air to capture a particular head position as well.

For cats, you can use toys to encourage interaction if you want an action shot. Have an assistant stand to the side, holding a dowel rod with a toy dangling. They can bat it with their paws and give you opportunities for some good shots.

Treats are helpful if a pet responds well to rewards. They can help you make friends with the pet and communicate to it where you want it to position itself.

Step 5 - Pet Parent Station

Your pet photography studio is likely to be an unfamiliar place for a pet, so it is important to have their human parents nearby. The parents can also help you direct the gaze of the pet as they will follow their voice. Also helpful is interviewing the parents prior to the photo shoot. You can ask them to bring any favorite toys or treats to make the pet feel comfortable in the studio.

Popular Cameras for High Quality Photos: