Photography Tips for Capturing Dog Pictures

If you are one of those dog lovers who consider their four-legged friends family members, or you’re a web design company who loves dogs, you’ve probably spent time trying to take great photos to share on social media, place in albums or hang in your office, but capturing a good image can prove challenging. Especially when Fluffy doesn’t quite understand what “say cheese” means.

Professional photographers make snapping the perfect pup pictures look easy. Ever wonder how they managed to get multiple pups sitting and looking at the camera altogether? That is a form of sorcery we will never understand! But if you are feeling adventurous and want to try your hand at capturing a frameable image of your doggy, here are a few helpful tips.   

Acclimate Your Dog to the Camera

Phones and cameras are foreign to dogs. Once you whip one out, your fur baby will either head the other way leaving you with a “tail end” shot or head towards the device out of curiosity and provide you with an “up-the-snout” image.

Before your photo shoot, spend time carrying your phone or camera in plain view. Keep it around your neck or in your hand. Allow Princess to investigate your devices and get used to your new role as pupperazzi.

Lighting and Location

If you are unfamiliar with using a flash, it is best to shoot during daylight hours.

Photo shoots at home should happen when the sun is coming through the windows. Excessive lighting can be controlled as needed by adjusting shades or using blankets to cover areas that are too bright.

Outdoor shooting is best in the afternoon. Try to avoid spots with extreme sunlight. Find an area, such as a park or hiking trail, that may offer some shade in the form of trees or gazebos.

In either setting, make sure light is behind you and pointing towards your pup.

Pack Your Patience

Now that your dog is acclimated to your camera and you have chosen a suitable location, you are ready to get started. Mentally prepare yourself to spend several hours capturing terrible shots before snagging a share-worthy dog photo. If you remain in a calm state of mind your tail-wagger will too. And a zen canine will eventually lead to the picture of your dreams.

Play with Perspective, Experiment and Have Fun

Challenge yourself to be creative with angles. Get on your pooch’s level, lay on the ground, hang upside down or go in for an extreme close up. Try anything that could capture your dog from a more interesting perspective.

Use your dog’s personality to your advantage. Try running with active pups or playing tug of war just before snapping their picture. A panting pup will appear as though they are smiling. Give a more sedentary fur balls some belly rubs and snap their reaction as you step away.

Be Prepared

If you plan to have your dog sit and stay for a picture, make sure you arm yourself with a few essentials:

  • Treats are a great way to provide paws-itive praise when asking your dog to do tricks for the camera.
  • Squeaky toys or kissing/whistling noises are effective in capturing attention and creating an expression in the eyes.
  • Use a leash to help guide and keep puppies who are not yet trained under control. If you are handy with Photoshop, you can remove it from the picture later.

1,2,3 Method

Props such as hats or toys will require an extra person to help you work quickly. Ask your assistant to place the prop on or near your pup while you man the camera. On the count of 3, the item should be placed and your helper should be out of the frame so you can snap the picture.  

When all else fails, let Fido lead. Enjoy this bonding time with your pet and do your best to be quick with the shutter while they go about being themselves. Check to see if your device has a “burst” feature that will allow you to hold down the shutter button and take images in rapid succession. You can go back through your camera roll later and keep the images that came out best. After all, everything Fido does is adorable!

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