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Pet Photography With iPhone Portrait Mode [2021]

Iphone pet photography - iphone portait mode dog photography

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    Pet photography is becoming very popular nowadays.
    I Shoot every day High quality photos of my dogs buddy and selma just with my iPhone Portrait Mode.

    In this post i will share with my favorite Tips and tricks to help You improving your Pet Photography skills with your mobile.

    I use  the portrait mode of my iPhone Xs Max, but most of the creative tips i will share with you, will work with every kind of camera or mobile.

    Checkout The photos i shoot with my iPhone.

    If you are reading this blog post, and you are an animal lover, then there is a 99.9% chance that you might own a pet :) Right?

    We Share with our best friends everything, and we treat them not as animals but as family members.

    world of dog ownership, man cuddle with puppy

    Pet Photography is becoming so popular because of Instagram, and also because we spend so many special moments with our friends, And this is the main reason why we shoot so many photos of them, because they grow so fast, or they sleep in funny positions, or just because they are so amusing by being themselves.

    Now let's jump into the basics.

    1. Pet Photography Basics

    funny dog with sweet ears in the air pose for the camera

    It is easy teach your dog new behaviors if you have some yummy treats and you know how to do it, However, when it comes to teach your dog to pose for the camera, to take high quality and sharp photographs of your pet, it is not as easy as it seems.

    • Before you get started with the photography session, it is very important for you to relax, if you are stressed out then your pet might be able to sense that and the shooting will be very hard.
    • You have to feel as if you are connected with your pet, a strong connection between the owner and the pet is very important for an effective pet photography session. If your pet is distracted towards other stuff, you will not be able to have that interactive photography session.
    • To get complete attention of your pet during the pet photography session, get his attention with snack or a treat. Food motivated Pets will do anything for some Treats. This will help you to get the attention of your pet easily.
    • Learn more about Treats and how effective they are in dog training.
    • It is very important to have proper lighting, especially when you are shooting indoors. Shoot always near windows, and take advantage of the natural light.
    •  Try always to plan your shots, and remove distractive objects from the background (if you are shooting indoor) 
    • Take inspiration from instagram, there are so  many dog influencer accounts out there. 
    • proper contrast and exposure in your camera setting are essential. You can set this automatically in your native mobile camera app or manually in third-party apps (highly recommended).

    2. Pet Photography Pro Tips

    pet photographer shooting 2 dogs chihuahua

    Pet photography is not at all an easy task, and it requires to have a lot of patience and practice to make the most out of it. 

    Photographing certain things, places, landscapes, and humans is not a very difficult task as you can adjust the angle of the shot, the settings, and other vital factors by simply collaborating or talking to the model, but pet photography creates a completely different scenario.

    Following are some tips to instantly improve your pet photography skills:

    2.1 Go for the eyes

    The eyes are one of the most beautiful and expressive parts of animals face.

    Try to make your pet stare into the camera with the help of some treats, and wait for that perfect moment to take the shot. The eyes tell the story and bring to life the picture.


    Like the eyes, your pet’s expression can also tell you  what he/she is feeling in that exact moment.

    Capture moments, which describes your pet’s character and how he feel or behave in specific environments.


    The flash creates a strong artificial light, which suddenly flickers when you take a photograph, so this might scare your pet and make him nervous.

    2.4 GO DOWN

    It is very difficult to get that perfect angle for your shot. The best idea is to get in level with your pet size.

    This helps you to create a perfect angle for your shot.

    Do not go all the way down but instead try to stay in level with your pet eyes.

    2.5 CONNECT

    It is essential to make your pet feel comfortable in the environment you are shooting at.

    If you start being harsh with your pet, then he might get scared and confused. 

    You need to be patient. 


    Move around your pet slowly, because if you move too fast, he might start also moving or following you.


    Use low aperture to create that sweet blurry background, if you are shooting with your iPhone, ABSOLUTELY use the portrait mode.

    3. How To Get Started With iPhone Portrait Mode

    Pet Photography With iPhone Portrait Mode [2021] 1

    The iPhone comes with one of the most amazing features and specs that you could ever ask for, but the iPhone camera is considered one of the best among all smartphones. 

    The iPhone portrait mode  comes with advanced features.

    Listed below are some of the steps that you need to follow to access the iPhone portrait mode.

    1. Your iOS version needs to be up to date so that you can access all the latest features that have been added by the company.
    2. When you are ready to take a picture, open the camera app and swipe to the right to access the iPhone portrait mode.
    3. The portrait mode has been highlighted as a yellow box so look for that, and you’re ready to take pictures

    One of the features that have been added to the iPhone portrait mode is the portrait lighting to enhance the quality of the picture and the control of the aperture manually (Very cool Feature).

    4. IPhone portrait mode tips to elevate your pet photography

    sweet dog shooting a selfie with an iphone

    4.1 stay close to the subject

    It is compulsory for you to stay close to the subject, which you are trying to capture. 

    The iPhone Portrait mode itself recommends that you only keep a distance about 2.5 meters.

    The depth effect feature can only be activated if you are standing in a clear background, and it should be further away from the subject that you are capturing.

    For example, if your pet is standing against the wall, then the background is too close to the subject due to which there will be no blur effect in the background.

    4.2 Lighting and Environment

    Good lighting is very important for using the iPhone portrait mode, so a suitable environment should be chosen to have a proper spotlight on the subject.

    pet photographer bag photo studio photography

    4.3 Stay still

    Another important factor is that you need to have to stay still, and the subject that you are trying to capture should not move at all (with reflex cameras it's completely another story, because you can simply raise the shutter speed manually).

    In case of movement, the picture might be out of focus, and the portrait mode depth effect will not work.

    4.4 focus

    Focus is very important, and the depth effect will only appear if you are focusing on a particular subject and not the background.

    The blur will come on the object, which you have not focused on your camera. 

    For example, if you focus on the background and not the subject, then the subject becomes a blur, and the background is focused. 

    The focus can easily be made by clicking on the part of the screen where the subject seems to be standing still.

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    5. iPhone Portrait Mode Lighting 

    dog photo taken with a white iphone

    iPhone portrait lighting effects are available from iPhone 8 to iPhone Xs Max and they can easily be accessed in the portrait mode. 

    The options of portrait lighting effects appear as a semi-circle wheel, you can choose between five different effects according to the environment you are in. 

    The Iphone portrait mode lighting effects are sometimes important to enhance the lighting quality of your surroundings.

    Some of the available options are listed below and are as follows:

    1. Natural light: It is the default setting, which has been automatically set for you already when you open portrait mode for standard use.
    2. Studio light: This feature helps you to brighten the face area and bring enhancement towards your facial features if the subject does not have proper lighting on his/her face. It kind acts like a spotlight on your facial features.
    3. Contour light: It is somewhat similar to studio light but what this feature does is that it provides directional light to the whole image. Directional light is a light that highlights a particular object and enhances it.
    4. Stage light: Like the studio light, which puts the subject’s facial expressions in the spotlight. The stage light puts the whole subject into the spotlight. It brightens the area where the person is standing so that he/she seems to be clear in the picture.
    5. Stage mono: This featured effect is also used to put the subject in the spotlight, but it comes with a black and white background effect.

    6. iPhone portrait mode depth of field control

    canon camera in dog photography

    On advanced, large cameras like DSLR, depth of field is controlled by bringing down F stops, it corresponds to a wider aperture so that you can adjust the amount of blur required in the background.

    When it comes to smartphones, like the iPhone, you can adjust the blur amount in the iPhone portrait mode by going to the ‘edit’ option (after shooting a photo) in the photos where you will see a depth slider, or using third-party apps (focos). 

    By swiping right or left, you can make adjustments accordingly, which means that you can blur the background as much as you want or as less as you like.

    This will take your pet photography to the next level if you have well composed the photo, and everything is well exposed and in focus.

    * “Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.” 

    Just start by sharing this blog post on your favorite social network or with your friends. Thanks !!

    7. Best Pet Photography Editing Apps On Mobile


    There are times when you do not really like the picture that you have taken. Something is missing; you just wish that you could do more with this and add extra details to make it look much better. 

    That is where the iPhone editing apps come in to help you enhance your pet photography, and to make your photos look even better than before. 

    Listed below are some of my favorite apps that provide awesome editing features for your pictures :

    Recommended Free Apps

    7.1 Snapseed

    This free of cost editing app developed by google, is very easy to use and provides almost every feature, which is useful for the perfect image enhancement. You have control over the color and exposure adjustment of the picture to make it look sharper and crispier. 

    It provides you also with different filters. 

    One of the best features is the portrait enhancement feature, which is specially designed for pictures taken with iPhone portrait mode. 

    This app comes with a built-in camera that provides you control towards its advanced features.

    This app is considered to be one of the best for adding different filters to your pictures.

    Although it is free to download from the app store, you can purchase a subscription for this app to unlock its advanced tools and more than 130+ other filters by paying $19.99 per year.

    7.3 Instagram Editor

    Before you can post a picture to your Instagram account, the Instagram editor shows up in which you can make changes and enhance your pictures before posting them.

    First, you can adjust the picture according to Instagram size with the help of your fingers. After doing that, a series of filters show up, and you can swipe to the left to see all the filters.

    Once a filter is added, you can increase or decrease the amount of filter you want to apply.

    Other features included are brightness, sharpening, saturation, vignette, contrast adjustment tools, etc.

    8. Recommended Paid Apps

    8.1 Lightroom (My Favorite)

    8.2 Focos (Awesome blur Control)

    8.3 Lens Distortions

    9. Conclusion:

    I would like to conclude with the fact that pet photography is a passion for many people in today’s world. As mentioned earlier, more and more people are adopting this hobby as a profession, and they can make good money out of it as well.

    Online platforms provide opportunities to people where they can easily sell their pet photographs to make out of them an everyday living. 

    Pet photography is also considered as a stress reliever for many people, and it can keep you busy so that you do not have time to think about unnecessary things.

    Pet photography is very helpful for you to practice and excel in your photography skills.

    You can start capturing your pets doing different activities at home and then take it outside in advanced light conditions where you can improve with your pet photography, also because your pet will be more distracted outside.

    If you love to do something, you have to be determined and passionate about it. You are always in a learning phase, no matter how good you might become at something.

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    It all depends upon your mood and your dedication that how much sincere you are towards your task. If you want to be also very good at dog training (this will help you to control better your dog during pet photography sessions outside) then,

    Read also my most popular articles:

    Housam Ayouni

    I am an Italian blogger, lover of pizza, travel and dogs. For several years, I've been studying and working with dogs; I immensely enjoy helping dog owners find peace and balance in their lives. My goal with this blog is to share with you everything I know and have learned through my personal experiences with my dogs.

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