A couple take a selfie with their dog.

5 Simple Tips and Tricks for Taking Selfies with Your Pet

Lights… Phone Camera… Say “Treats!”

Enter America’s latest favorite pastime: taking selfies for Instagram and Facebook. We all know that if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen. Everybody wants to share their gorgeous, funny, smart, speedy, and sassy pets with the world and perhaps become a pet influencer with millions of followers. First things first, however, practice taking great pictures that will make your post stand out and shine in the feed.

1. Let There Be (Good) Light

For wonderful selfies or photographs in general, start with good lighting. Professional photographers carry a lot of gear, various specialty lenses, tripods, and lighting equipment to name a few. They will tell you that good lighting will make or break a carefully composed photograph.

While natural sunlight is best, if you can’t take a selfie outside with a freshly groomed pupper, make sure your light source is in front of you, not behind. If you find yourself outdoors and spot a perfect moment, make sure you aren’t in direct sunlight, since dogs tend to look away from bright things and you’ll end up squinting in all of your pictures.

Avoid flash, if at all possible, as it can startle your pet and also result in the dreaded devil-red pupils.

2. Declutter and Get in Position

A clutter-free background means the picture’s focus is solely on your pet. So get Marie Kondo-ing and start tidying up for your photo session. A pro pet photographer recommends, “It doesn’t always have to be something plain like a blank wall. But using that can help make your photo more coherent and less distracting.” A simple background also means less distraction for your pet too.

Another pro recommendation is to “Get the dog up on a sturdy stool or ottoman so you have an easier time getting on their level and isolating the pup against the sky or other clean background, like a wall.”

Positioning your cell phone camera can also help with selecting a simple background. For example, point down to where your pet is, to show the green grass as the background, or get low on their level and point up so the sky becomes your backdrop. If you are in a crowded area or there are too many colors around, take a close-up, so you and your pet’s faces fill the frame.

3. Dangle That Carrot

How can you get an active dog or shy cat to give you the perfect pose? You have to inject some fun! Maybe there is a ball or feathery wand that makes your pet go crazy or a favorite treat that they will do anything for. Using high-reward items to lure them into looking at the camera will help you capture that beauty shot. If you’re using a treat, make sure that it is “easy to swallow, as dogs tend to look down or away when they need to chew,” suggests professional pet photographer J.B. Shepard.

Try holding out the treat just beyond the camera for attention and snap the selfie. Not enough hands to manage it all? The Woofie, Pooch, or Quik Pod can lend a hand.

4. Burst or Live Mode

Capturing the perfect pet photo can be exhausting, mainly because your pooch won’t stay still. Even if you’re holding their favorite treat, any distraction (like a squirrel scurrying by) will draw their attention from the camera. Before you know it, you’ve lost the moment and end up with blurry images. Luckily, most smartphones incorporate ‘burst’ or ‘live’ mode, where the built-in camera rapidly takes several pictures in succession.

Explore this option on your device so that you can select a favorite frame from one of multiple shots. This can be a huge time saver, as opposed to looking through one photo after another with bated breath and fingers crossed. A quick YouTube search can also provide useful tutorials on how to best use your phone’s various camera functions.

5. There’s an App for That

In fact, there are several apps for that, “that” being pet photography. The main advantage of using an app is that many make noises like barks, toy squeaks, and whistles to hold your pet’s undivided attention and give you the opportunity to take a winning photo. Apps are especially great in spontaneous settings where you may not have a high reward treat with you.

The app store for your specific device will list several to choose from. We like the DogCam app, available for both iOS and Android smartphones, that offers a variety of sounds and includes several helpful options, such as zoom, live mode, and timer. After taking the photo, you can use photo-editing apps to add more elements like music or dress it up with silly stickers and virtual costumes for your pet.

Try incorporating these tips next time you’re taking pet pics and maybe you’ll become a pet photographer before you know it!

All selfie tools and apps featured in this article were independently selected by our editorial team. However, if you click on the provided links and/or purchase a product, PetPlace may receive a commission.