I take photos using my iPhone, and while I would like a DSLR, for now I find that the key things are
- lighting - I have a black hamster, so this is more of a challenge for me than some others. I tend to take photos near a window, during daylight hours, with the flash off. Afterwards, I'll tweak it and adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation until it looks right (I invariably just use Instagram for this - the edit tools are actually quite good, even if you don't want to put a filter on)
- hamster energy levels - it's far easier to take photos of a hamster that has just woken up than one that is running around like a bat out of hell and generally making a pain of themselves.
- persistence - I can honestly say that 95% of the photos I take of Inky are thoroughly unusable. However, thanks to the wonder of digital photography, I'm able to take loads and some, by fluke if nothing else, will result in a picture with the hamster looking in the right direction and not moving!
- positioning - if I want Inky in a specific position, I know the chances of her actually doing that by herself are next to zero, so I will physically pick her up and put her in the right place before taking the photo (quickly - again, a sleepy hamster is more likely to stay in the same place for a few seconds!)
- bribery, on occasions! You don't always want a photo of a hamster eating, but sometimes they will sit still just long enough if you give them a bit of their favourite food (and hope that they don't just pouch it and keep moving!)
My photos of Inky are linked to in my signature