• Our research shows pet listing photos that are a close-up of the pet’s face are clicked on more often than shots taken farther away. HOWEVER especially if you and all your other nearby shelters and rescues are all using face closeup shots, all pets start to look the same. Try mixing it up and see what works for you and your pets! Dogs with long noses try profile shots, dogs showing their bellies or running happily, cats jumping up for a toy or curled up next to a person.
  • Put a colorful bandana or collar on the pet.
  • Place a toy in the photo with the pet.
  • Take the photo with grass or light solid-color fabric as the entire background.
  • Have a smiling person petting, sitting next to, or holding the pet. Even just a person’s hands in the photo will show the pet is friendly with people, and also show a pet’s size.
  • Take the photo outside in indirect sunlight (cloudy day or in solid shade) or in the brightest indoor spot.
  • Use treats or a toy to get the pet to look right into the camera.
  • Run dogs around until they are panting – it makes them look like they are “smiling”.


  • have the pet pictured behind bars (this makes the pet look scary & makes shelters seem like a sad place to visit).
  • be dark or gloomy.
  • be blurry, out of focus, or not have the pet shown clearly.

Tip: You should take the photos using the LOWEST resolution on your digital camera. They will still look great on the internet (which only shows low resolution images) and will load much faster to any site you post them on because they are smaller files!