Pet Photography: Indoor or Outdoor?

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Pet Photography, Photography Tips

2 kittens in stocking on red backdrop

Taking pictures of pets can be a challenge, even with a patient dog and the best lighting. At times, working outdoors offers a perfect environment, and then there are moments when a controlled indoor space suits you better. There are several factors to recognize when deciding on the right location for photographing pets.


It’s common for pets, particularly young ones, to get distracted easily. Trying to shoot pictures of an energetic puppy outside can be quite the endeavor. The best way to take photos of any young animal outside is to use an area that has some kind of containment. Locations with a lot of external distractions or things that can scare the animal subjects are not advised, so avoid shooting in a dog park! One of the best places you can utilize to contain a distracted animal is in a small, fenced in yard.

Action Shots

Images of a pet playing or chasing a toy can create some of the most memorable moments. These images capture the pet’s personality in a beautiful way. These images are also difficult to create in the confines of a studio. Instead, use the great outdoors with early morning sunlight or the last rays of sunset for lighting. Natural light outdoors provides the optimum lighting and gives the pet plenty of space to play during the shoot.

puppy running outside

Holiday & Studio Images

If you’re taking shots of a pet dressed as Santa Claus or a puppy sitting in a patch of pumpkins, it’s probably a good idea to stick with an indoor studio. This gives you the opportunity to utilize different pieces of scenery, colorful photo backdrops and special treats to get the pet’s attention. Shooting indoors also allows you more control over what the pet is doing.

dog in santa hat on white backdrop

A Combination of Indoor & Outdoor

For excellent pet images, it’s a great idea to work with the pet outside first and then take staged images inside, if time permits. Doing this helps in two ways: first, you can get shots of the pet outdoors, using natural light. Second, the pet will have gotten much of its abundant energy out and will be calmer for the indoor shots. This also increases the likelihood that a pet will tolerate being in costume and sitting in various poses.

Time Constraints

It’s always important to be patient when photographing pets. Working outside, you may have to wait an hour or more to get a limited number of keeper images. When shooting pets, it’s necessary to let the pet set the tone for the session.

Do you prefer photographing pets indoor or outdoor?

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in reading more about pet photography? Check out 12 Tips to Easier and More Creative Pet Photography!

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Comments (1)

  • Angela


    Hmm, interesting idea. Most of the pet photos are done outside. I like the idea of taking the photos inside. Thanks for the post!


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