Taking photos that get pets adopted

A good picture is worth a thousand barks or meows! Pet photos on AdoptaPet.com are your pets' adoption billboards.
When an adopter does a pet search and scrolls though the search results, pet photos and names are the first things they see. The first photo and pet name field are where you can make your pet stand out! A posted pet without a name or photo is much less likely to get clicked on by an adopter.

Photo tips

  • Our research shows pet listing photos that are a close-up of the pet’s face are TYPICALLY clicked on more often than shots taken farther away. *Exception: Run a search in your zip code at www.adoptapet.com and see what all the other pet photos look like in your area. Photos that look slightly different can help your pet stand out in a sea of other similar pet photos.
  • Put a colorful bandana, bow tie, or fun scarf on the pet.
  • Place a toy in the photo with the pet. For dogs, a standard size yellow tennis ball is a good option as it shows the pet's size.
  • Take the photo with grass or a bright solid-color sheet or blanket as the entire background.
  • Have a smiling person petting, sitting next to, or holding the pet.
  • Take the photo outside or next to a bright window so the pet is illuminated by indirect sunlight. Stand with the light source behind you, shining on the pet.
  • 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 NOT…

  • show the pet behind bars 
  • be dark or gloomy
  • be blurry or too far away

You can upload up to four photos on to each pet’s Adopt-a-Pet.com listing, so you can really show off the pet’s features. Our studies show more photos = more interest.

Take the photos using the LOWEST resolution on your digital camera or phone. They will still look great on our website (which uses lower resolution images to load quickly) and will upload much faster because they are smaller files.


Some actual before and after photos, see what a difference a retake can make:


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