My Dog is Very Photogenic and Yours Can Be Too: Pet and Animal Portraits

May 17, 2019 | Bill V.

Comments (3)

This is my dog Rufus, and yes he's a good boy. He's also getting on in years and so every photo I take of him is somewhat bittersweet. I want to catch those special moments together and also have something that reflects his character.

Did you know the Library has lots of books on pet photography so why not browse through some of them,  so you too can take photos of your own good boy. You may also want to dip into the work of one of my colleagues who recently wrote a blog Dogs in Our Digital Archive (Bark-ive?).

Happy Rufus the dog photo

I love my doggo, and if you do too, you may also want to read some of these doggo books Who's a Good Boy? 10 Good Dog Books.

Pet Photography:

Pet photography  the secrets to creating authentic pet portraits

Pet Photography: The Secrets to Creating Authentic Pet Portraits:

"For those who want to combine their passion for both animals and photography, pet photography is the perfect solution. Photographing pets can be a fun-filled and incredibly rewarding experience, but it has its challenges, as well. Like any kind of portraiture, there is both technical knowledge and aesthetic skill to acquire, including knowledge of your equipment and subject, and the ability to create strong and creative compositions for images with maximum impact. Additionally, pet photographers need to learn how to communicate and collaborate with a variety of animals (with very different personalities!) to produce compelling imagery."


Pet photography design irresistible portraits of dogs  cats  people with their animals  and much more

Pet Photography: Design Irresistible Portraits of Dogs, Cats, People with Their Animals, and Much More:

"This book introduces readers to all aspects of pet photography--from capture techniques to business basics and everything in between. Photographers, from beginner to seasoned pro, will find a host of technical tips for ensuring high ­quality images. Eskridge provides insights about animal psychology that will help photographers meet the challenges of photographing timid or excitable cats, dogs, and horses. She even shares her best practices for working with deaf or blind animals. Featuring technical tips, creative ideas, and business insights, this book provides everything photographers need to position their pet photography business for success."

The life & love of dogs

The Life & Love of Dogs:

"Offers hundreds of incredible images by acclaimed photographers from around the world. A textual exploration of our unique relationship with dogs, including a surprising analysis of the qualities that make a dog attractive in our eyes... it sheds original light on this great love affair."


Beautiful beasties  a creative guide to modern pet photography

Beautiful Beasties: A Creative Guide to Modern Pet Photography:

"Pet lovers will find terrific tips to help them capture their pets? personalities in photos, while professional photographers who want to extend their business opportunities will value advice on the unique challenges of working with animals and creating the portraits their clients want."


Pet and horse photography for everybody  secrets from a pro

Pet and Horse Photography for Everybody: Secrets From a Pro

"Acclaimed pet photographer Nicole Begley shares her unique skills with pet lovers who want to create special images that capture the beauty and personality of their favorite animals."


Rufus at rest.

Rufus at rest. 


Animal Photographs and Portraits:

Picturing dogs  seeing ourselves vintage American photographs

Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves: Vintage American Photographs:

"Explores antique photographs of people and their dogs to expand the understanding of visual studies, animal studies, and American culture. Uses the canine body as a lens to investigate the cultural significance of family and childhood portraits, pictures of hunters, and racially charged images"


The dog album studio portraits of dogs and their people

The Dog Album: Studio Portraits of Dogs and Their People:

"This wonderful collection of antique photos proves that dogs have long been man's best friend. The Dog Album represents a significant group of images that charts the early history of American family photography. 100 photos."


The French cat

The French Cat:

"Famed animal photographer Rachael Hale has turned her lens toward France, her newly adopted home, and the charismatic cats that inhabit this picturesque backdrop. Rachael also tells the story of her move to France and experience discovering the beauty of her surroundings, the culture, and, of course, the cats, with her husband and new baby in tow"


The French dog

The French Dog:

"Joining their owners at cafés, in shops, and just about everywhere else, dogs have always had a special place in French life. In The French Dog, bestselling animal photographer Rachael McKenna (née Hale) has captured a host of unforgettable dogs--dachshunds, poodles, Labradors, bulldogs, and more--in a variety of stunning locations, from stately chateaux to chic Paris addresses to cobblestoned streets in quiet villages."


Maddie on things  a super serious project about dogs and physics

Maddie on Things: A Super Serious Project About Dogs and Physics:

"Maddie is a sweet-tempered coonhound who accompanied her owner, Theron, on a yearlong, cross-country trip while he worked on a photojournalism project. In his spare time, Theron took photos of Maddie doing what she does best: standing on things. From bicycles to giant watermelons to horses to people, there really isn't anything that Maddie won't stand on with grace and patience. The poignant Instagram photos of this beautiful dog and her offbeat poses have captured the imagination of all those who long for a road trip with a good dog for company."


Underwater dogs

Underwater Dogs:

"In more than eighty portraits, award-winning pet photographer and animal rights activist Seth Casteel captures new sides of our old friends with vibrant underwater photography that makes it impossible to look away. Each image bubbles with exuberance and life, a striking reminder that even in the most loveable and domesticated dog, there are more primal forces at work. In Underwater Dogs, Seth Casteel gives playful and energetic testament to the rough-and-tumble joy that our dogs bring into our lives."


William Wegman  being human

William Wegman: Being Human

"A career-spanning collection of William Wegman's beloved Weimaraner photographs"




"Renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand--master of light and shadow, angle and exposure--etches these magnificent creatures and their human partners in photographs shot on location and around the globe, from Montana to Russia, central Asia to Argentina, Mongolia and Cameroon, and points in between. Each moment captured offers a glimpse of the breath of humanity, and man's powerful and moving relationship with the horse. Full of tribal costume, local color, and panoramic scenery--accompanied by the text of equine expert Jean-Louis Gouraud--Horses is a project of unparalleled ambition and scope."


Allowed to Grow Old Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries.

Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries:

"There's nothing quite like a relationship with an aged pet--a dog or cat who has been at our side for years, forming an ineffable bond. Pampered pets, however, are a rarity among animals who have been domesticated. Farm animals, for example, are usually slaughtered before their first birthday. We never stop to think about it, but the typical images we see of cows, chickens, pigs, and the like are of young animals. What would we see if they were allowed to grow old?"


Old Faithful dogs of a certain age

Old Faithful: Dogs of a Certain Age

"A stunning and indelible collection of portraits and stories that capture dogs of a certain age in all their patchy, scruffy, jowly, and devoted glory--an homage to man's best friend, based on the popular international photography project. The dogs in Old Faithful are well worn, well loved, and well on in years. After his grandmother's 100th birthday party, photographer and dog lover Pete Thorne found himself taking photos of elderly dogs. In their aged, imperfect faces, he saw a depth of life, joy, and wisdom missing from more youthful subjects."


The animal kingdom  a collection of portraits

The Animal Kingdom: A Collection of Portraits

"Acclaimed photographer Randal Ford celebrates our fascination with and love of animals through his engaging portraits of the animal kingdom. The featured animals cover a wide range, from birds such as the African crane, cockatoos, flamingos, and roosters, to big cats such as tigers, cheetahs, and leopards, to Arabian horses, bulls, and Longhorn sheep, among many others. Bird and animal lovers will be drawn to the powerful and emotionally engaging images."


Tales from Gombe

Tales from Gombe:

"The Gombe chimpanzees are probably the most famous group of wild animals in history, having been observed and chronicled for more than 50 years. Through studies initiated by paleontologist and anthropologist Louis Leakey and carried out by primatologist Jane Goodall, people worldwide know some of the names and stories of the Gombe chimpanzees. The intimate portraits in Tales from Gombe reveal their inner lives and introduce the social dynamics, the dynasties and the key players.

Anup Shah and Fiona Rogers have dedicated long periods of their time to studying the various dynasties, photographing the key players and observing their actions … and introduce the different characters and tell the fascinating stories of their lives, through both words and breathtaking photography."


Monkey portraits

Monkey Portraits:

"Jill Greenberg offers a fascinating, funny, and all-too-human collection of celebrity monkey and ape portraits. Each of these 76 amazing anthropomorphic photographs will remind readers of someone they know."


Creatures close up

Creatures Close Up (children's book):

"Philippe Martin creates his close-ups by "stacking" images inside his computer. To create one picture, he takes dozens of photographs, each time focusing the camera on a slightly different part of the subject. Then, using computer software, he combines the images into one perfectly focused composite image. Finally, he cleans up the image pixel by pixel. The result is almost three-dimensional photographs of animals and plants, with such sharpness and brilliance that they appear to leap from the page. Creatures Close Up includes a selection of amazing photographs of flora and fauna -- snakes, frogs, insects, spiders, lizards and other creatures. These large, hyper-realistic images bring the viewer face to face with tiny creatures and plants, where the smallest details can be examined. "


National Geographic  the photo ark one man's quest to document the world's animals

National Geographic, the Photo Ark: One Man's Quest to Document the World's Animals:

"Joel Sartore intends to photograph every animal in captivity in the world. He is circling the globe, visiting zoos and wildlife rescue centers to create studio portraits of 12,000 species, with an emphasis on those facing extinction. He has photographed more than 6,000 already and now, thanks to a multi-year partnership with National Geographic, he may reach his goal. This book showcases his animal portraits: from tiny to mammoth, from the Florida grasshopper sparrow to the greater one-horned rhinoceros."


Birds of the photo ark

Birds of the Photo Ark:

"For avian enthusiasts, from armchair observers to dedicated life-listers, this brilliant book from acclaimed National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore celebrates the beauty of all birds, great and small. This elegantly packaged celebration of birds from around the world unites incredible animal portraits from Joel Sartore's distinguished National Geographic Photo Ark project with inspiring text by up-and-coming birder Noah Strycker. It includes hundreds of species, from tiny finches to charismatic eagles; brilliant toucans, intricate birds of paradise, and perennial favorites."


Underwater photography masterclass

Underwater Photography Masterclass:

"There is an astonishing world just waiting to be photographed underwater. With marine biologist Dr Alexander Mustard as your guide you can learn all you need to know to explore the amazing creatures and landscapes that lie beneath the surface. From information about diving equipment and cameras, to crucial advice on understanding and controlling light underwater, this book provides all the background you need before you take the plunge. Topics covered include wide-angle light, macro lighting, ambient light and macro techniques. With the benefit of 30 years of experience taking underwater photographs, Alexander uses his wealth of knowledge to guide the reader in an authoritative yet accessible tone."


Pets and Animals in Art:

Art studio dogs  more than 50 projects and techniques for drawing  painting  and creating 25 breeds in oil  acrylic  pencil  and more

Art Studio: Dogs More than 50 Projects and Techniques for Drawing, Painting, and Creating 25+ Breeds in Oil, Acrylic, Pencil, and More:

"Designed for beginning artists, Art Studio: Animals combines a variety of step-by-step art projects, including drawing, painting, mixed media, and more, to help you transform your love of animals into fine art. Opening with a helpful overview of basic tools, materials, and techniques, the book then dives into more than 50 step-by-step projects to help artists get started drawing and painting animals in any medium. Love to draw? No problem. Rather paint? Got you covered. With helpful artist tips, techniques, and methods for creating animal artwork in a variety of artistic styles, the Art Studio series helps artists of any skill level find inspiration, explore different tools and materials, and have fun in the process."

See also these titles:


The dog  5000 years of the dog in art

The Dog: 5000 Years of the Dog in Art:

"This beautiful book ... features works from all over the world, ranging from the earliest African rock paintings to the groundbreaking work of contemporary artists. It explores the various roles the dog has played in both art and society, including its depiction as a symbol of fidelity and romantic love; as a prized possession, vaunting its owner’s power and wealth; as a loyal pet; as a mythological being, travelling between the lands of the living and the dead; as a religious image of purity, or dissolution; and as an indispensable working and hunting companion. A vividly written text is accompanied by glorious images."

See also the following titles:


Stripped bare the art of animal anatomy

Stripped Bare: The Art of Animal Anatomy:

"This stunningly illustrated compendium traces the intertwined intellectual and artistic histories of comparative anatomy from antiquity to today. Stripped Bare brings together some of the most arresting images ever produced, from the earliest studies of animal form to the technicolor art of computer-generated anatomies. David Bainbridge draws on representative illustrations from different eras to discuss the philosophical, scientific, and artistic milieus from which they emerged. He vividly describes the unique aesthetics of each phase of anatomical endeavor."


Cats in art

Cats in Art:

"The cat--that most graceful, stubborn, and agile of animals--has been a favorite subject of artists the world over from prehistory to the modern day. A spectacular 7,000-year-old engraving in Libya depicts a catfight. Figures modeled by the Babylonians remind us of their belief that the souls of priests were escorted to paradise by a helpful cat. Pablo Picasso was known to have loved cats and famously portrayed them as savage predators. In Victorian times, cats were depicted in loving family groups with mothers caring for their playful kittens."

See also the following titles:


How to draw cats and kittens  a complete guide for beginners

How to Draw Cats and Kittens: A Complete Guide for Beginners:

"Takes a look at some of our favorite pets, and delve into anatomy, form, expression, details on physical features and breeds, and numerous step by step drawing guides."


Here's my boy Rufus chillin at Cherry Beach. Yes, he may look stoned - but he's just happy. 

Rufus relaxing at Cherry Beach

Rufus at Cherry Beach