Taking pet portraits is something that we all do and enjoy once in a while, whether of our own furry friends or those of our friends and family. However, if you want to go beyond the snapshots and really capture the character of your beloved pets — or any adorable critter, actually — you might get some ideas from this collection of heartwarming pet portraits by Brandon Voges!

According to the St. Louis, Missouri-based photographer, these photos feature some of the critters, both large and small, that he took portraits of both for clients and for fun over the past few years. I’m sure many of you will agree that these beautiful snaps make great examples of the many different mood and visual styles we can explore when photographing pets and other animals.

Creating a mood

As with any other portrait, pet portraits also work great when you add, explore or heighten a certain mood that radiates from your subject. However, it will definitely be challenging to get your pets to pose, especially if they’re not used to being asked to sit still or if they’re more in the mood to play. So, prepare to get creative!

A great approach by Voges is shooting in outdoor settings, especially in conveying a fun, energetic vibe of the adorable pets playing outdoors. It can be as simple and straightforward as the front yard of a family home, or a big grassy area of a park nearby. Bring a few toys and props, or even have kids playing with them to make the shoot extra fun!

Can’t go outdoors or would like to try studio portraits for your pet? Try different backgrounds, experiment with angles, play with colored lights and get some props for them to interact with!

You can also try coming up with different concepts that the pets can “star” in, or maybe even dress them up as characters for more unique and endearing portraits.

Highlighting expressions

One of the most fun things about photographing pets is capturing their unique expressions. Anyone who has owned pets will most likely say that each has their own “personality,” so to speak. So, just like with people, one of the best ways you can take pet portraits is to capture that personality through their expressions and movements.

I really like the portraits that show the quirky and playful side of the pets, but the pensive ones are outstanding as well. They made me think that it’s always a good idea to have portraits of pets in different moods, activities and settings to portray a wider spectrum of their personality. I also find it impressive how Vogel captured different expressions and mood for his adorable subjects. In fact, even the chickens got some flattering group photos and glamour shots!

Don’t forget to visit Brandon Voges’ Behance portfolio and the Brouton Stroube Studios website to see more of his projects.

All photos by Brandon Voges. Used with Creative Commons permission.