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Fantastic Pet Photography

Learn the basics of taking stellar photos of pets--your own cats and dogs or others if it’s a business for you.

Quick Details


In this Safari, you will learn the basics of taking stellar photos of pets–your own cats and dogs or others if it’s a business for you. We’ll meet at Arlington’s centrally located Bluemont Junction Park, learn some pet-specific photo exposure and equipment basics and shoot pawdel dogs in the park’s gorgeous early morning light. Or, basically have fun with your camera and some dogs for 3 hours! You’ll benefit from this Safari if you want to take better photos of your own family pets, be a volunteer photographer at your local animal shelter, or already have a photography business and want to expand into this popular niche. You’ll discover common and unusual pet photography challenges—do you wonder why black and white dog or cat photos never come out right? — and how a few tricks and treats go a long way to taming your 4-legged BFF.

The Safari will cover the following topics:

  • Pet-specific Equipment: cameras, lenses, noise-makers and delicious treats.
  • Pet photography basics: Exposure: ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed; Focus for Sharpness: the Eyes have it; and White balance: the Gray card.
  • Working with Pets: safety first; know behavioral traits; and using noise-makers and treats.
  • Natural Lighting: for action; for sunrise/sunset; white and black dogs; using shade; and backlighting.
  • Barking it all together with composition: capturing pet emotion; wide-open running action; bridges with leading lines; faces, noses, eyes; getting down to the pet’s level; and pets with their families.

We will demonstrate these topics with hands-on opportunities to photograph dog pawdels in Arlington’s Bluemont Junction Park. Bluemont has covered picnic benches where we will meet for introductory remarks, open fields for action shots, several bridges, paths through tree-covered shade and a colorful railroad car. There will be ample time to ask questions and practice with the pawdels.

Leslie B. had this to say about the Fantastic Pet Photography Safari: “Had a blast at Fantastic Pet Photography Class. Julie is an awesome instructor and Baxter was an excellent pawdel!!”

Cynthia Loden-Dowdle had several comments about the safari as well:

“Baxter, by the way, is absolutely adorable and an excellent pawdel. And Julie was also great; so patient and willing to share pointers and tricks of the trade.

But it was a tie as to who expended the most energy that day. Though Baxter ran his heart out to give us plenty of opportunities for action shots–Julie was sprinting almost the same amount–but in the opposite direction. Over and over again she’d get Baxter headed toward us and then she’d sprint hard off to the side trying to ensure she wasn’t in the background of the shot.

Julie’s a great teacher and made it a fun and informative morning. I would highly recommend the class to anyone. ”