The Basics of Animal Photography

If you’ve ever worked on a production, large or small, you know to always expect the unexpected. Add animals to the mix, and soon the unplanned becomes the norm. A few months ago, we staged a photo shoot with our client, Simple Human, to promote their line of animal food cans and bowls with the help of both human and canine models. Though you never know exactly what’s going to happen when you throw a 70 lb. golden retriever in front of a camera, there are ways to create a productive and safe environment and make a furry friend or two along the way.


One Bowl Does Not Fit All
Simple Human not only had a variety of pet products they wanted us to feature, but those items also came in different sizes. Because we knew our products, we also knew that we wanted several dogs of different heights available during the shoot. To find the best furry talent for the job, we conducted a comprehensive animal casting to select dogs that fit the brand’s aesthetic, personality, and color palette.

Work with a Reputable Agency
Even if your brother’s terrier can “play dead” and “shake” better than he can, you’ll still want to call in the pros. Working with a reputable agency ensures the best quality of animal talent with experienced mutts that are used to the busy atmosphere, bright lights, and equipment. In addition to, a reputable agency not only ensures a well-behaved canine, but also provides professional trainers who helped Fido find his mark, and took care of both the dogs’ safety and ours.

Give Yourself Options & Time
We wanted our photographs to contain three elements – the product, human interaction and a canine presence. Throwing all three components in front of the camera at once was an option in approaching the shoot, but instead we decided to photograph the dogs separately so we could get the most range out of each canine in a short amount of time. Allowing ourselves the necessary time to complete this task (and then some) ensured that by the end of the day we had every shot we needed. The final elements were composited later in the retouching stage, allowing for precision in the layout when working with limited space on the packaging.

To get a behind the scenes look at our photo shoot, check out our previous blog post, “Working with Animals on a Photography Set.”


Sample images from our pet photography for Simple Human