Photo tips to get pets adopted

A good picture is worth a thousand barks or meows! A pet’s photo is its adoption commercial. When an adopter does a pet search and looks at the results page, pets’ photos and names are the first things they see. Here’s your chance to make your pet really stand out!. First impressions mean everything. A posted pet without a name or photo, or with a bad photo can make people pass right on by your lovely pets!

Here are some photo tips to make your pets look happy and super adoptable:

  • 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”.

A good photo, if possible, should NEVER…

  • 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.

Also, you can upload up to four photos on to each pet’s listing, so you can really show off the pet’s features! And remember, 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!


Here are some before and after photos, to show the difference a good photo can make:


We have some great articles with tips to help you make the most of your pet listings on! 

  1. THREE TIPS to maximize your pet adoption listings
  2. How a Person in Your Pet’s Photo Can Make a Difference
  3. How to add clickable links to your pet’s description -- This is great if you have more than one video or more than four photos. You can add clickable links to media you have on other websites like YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Vimeo, etc.
  4. Writing pet stories that appeal to adopters
  5. Writing an Appealing Pet Description


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