photoshop creative

Top 5 ways to improve your pet photos

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
September 14, 2013

Rarely are pet photos perfect – here are our top five ways to make them better using Photoshop

Tip 1

On some occasions the eyes in animals can turn out completely black. Add a speck of white paint onto the eyes to make them more engaging. Select the Brush tool (B) and reduce Hardness to 90% and Opacity to 80% in the Options bar. With white set as your Foreground colour and Brush Size to around 9px, dab once with the tool onto both eyes.

Tip 2

It’s a shame when your pet appears darker than everything else in the image. To resolve this, add a new Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer from Layer>New Adjustment Layer. Increase the Brightness slider to around 100, or until your pet looks brighter. Pick up the Brush tool and paint over the background areas, affecting the mask of the adjustment, to bring back normal lighting.

This cheeky chappy has been sharpened with High Pass

Tip 3

Colour Balancing is another problem that you can face when taking pictures of your pets, especially when indoors. To offset n overall tinting of ‘bad’ colour, head to the Color Balance adjustment (Cmd/Ctrl+B). To offset an orange tint from tungsten lighting, shift the Cyan/Red slider to the left and the Yellow/Blue slider to the right until the image looks like it was shot under daylight settings.

Tip 4

Nearly all pet photos can do with a hint of sharpening, which works to bring out details in fur and eyes. Try the High Pass filter to begin with. Add a duplicate layer into the Layers palette (Cmd/Ctrl+J) and then go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Set the Radius slider so that the fur just about shows through (around 2 to 4 pixels). Set the layer’s blend mode to Hard Light to remove all grey areas.

Tip 5

Whenever you make a selection that involves an animal, make sure that you go to Select>Refine Edge before making further edits to the image. The Refine Edge command will show you the outline of the selection better. Increase the Smooth and Contrast sliders to improve a selection area, and tick Smart Radius also in this menu.


  • name

    Tip number 4 was very useful, I didn’t know that.