Obviously, your dog is the cutest of all the dogs in the land (that’s just how it works — it’s science) so understandably you want to get some photos that capture them in all their glory. However, taking a great photo of your dog can be more difficult than you might think, especially if they are very high-energy and don’t like to pose for the camera. Here are nine tips to help you take amazing photos of your dog, from using burst mode for action shots to getting them to pose with the help of natural dog treats:
Get them used to the camera.
The sight and sound of a camera can be unnerving for dogs, so you’ll want to get them used to being around the camera before the photoshoot. Turn off the flash, which can startle dogs and will also cause eye flashbacks in pictures. Then, take a bunch of test photos around your dog to get them used to the clicking of the shutter. If you are using your phone to take photos of your dog, put it in silent mode to turn off the sound entirely.
Decide if you want posed, candid, or action shots.
Different types of photos require different preparation in order to get the shot that you’re envisioning. For instance, posed shots of your dog sitting up are best done while they’re alert but not too energetic, while candid shots of them lying around are best done first thing in the morning or late at night when they’re already sleepy. Meanwhile, action shots should be taken before your dog has been exercised for the day to ensure that they aren’t too tired to play. If you want a mix of shots, plan your shoot ahead of time to match your dog’s energy levels.
Bring some distractions.
Dogs’ attention spans aren’t the longest, which can make it challenging to get an image of them looking directly at the camera. If you want to take some posed pictures of them, bring along some treats for dogs, a favorite toy, or another object that you can use to get their attention and make them look at the camera. It’s a good idea to have some treats on you even if you mostly want candid shots so that you can reward your dog throughout the photoshoot. Thick collagen dog chew rings can act as puppy teething rings, giving you plenty of time to get some action shots of your puppy.
Take photos from different angles and distances.
A lot of people take photos of their dogs from a few feet away while pointing the camera downward. This position is natural because it’s how we interact with dogs every day, but it can leave the resulting photos feeling a bit uninspired. For a different look, try getting on your dog’s eye level, or even lying on the ground and shooting up towards them. You can also get super close to them or back really far to get a different sense of perspective and capture a new angle.
Make the most of natural light.
It’s very likely that you’ll want to take some pictures of your dog outside, which is why it’s important to know that the middle of the day is the worst time to take pictures. All that direct sunlight will create harsh shadows that will distort the final image. Instead, try taking pictures on a cloudy day, which will diffuse the sunlight and create more of an even glow. The golden hour — the time just after sunrise or just before sunset — will also result in perfect natural lighting.
Shoot in burst mode.
Dogs move quickly, often too quickly for our human reflexes to react in time to capture the perfect picture. For best results, set your camera or phone to burst mode, so that your lens will capture multiple pictures in sequence as long as you hold down the button. You’ll need to sort through a lot of images to pick out the winners, but this is the best technique for getting a usable action shot of an energetic dog.
You can even try taking a video instead if your phone will let you capture a screenshot of your video!
Focus on certain features.
If you’re trying to set up the perfect close-up portrait of your dog looking pensive, then try focusing the camera on their eyes. This will ensure that their face is in focus and also that the viewer’s attention will be drawn to their most expressive feature. For more variety, you can also try taking closeups of your favorite features, whether that’s your dog’s floppy ears, big paws, or fluffy tail. Doing a series of these close-up images makes for a keepsake photo collage that you will treasure for many years to come.
Experiment with different backgrounds.
When choosing a background, think about your dog’s coat color and aim for contrast. A brown coat will blend into a dirt background instead of popping the way you want it to. If you’re taking photos outside, consider a location with several different options in a small radius so that you can have multiple choices. If you’re creating a backdrop inside using a sheet or poster board, have multiple colors and textures on hand so that you can swap them out quickly to see which one works best.
Be patient and plan for extra time.
Photoshoots always take longer than you think, and this is especially true if your subject is a rambunctious dog who can’t take directions. Plan for more time than you think you will need, and don’t be surprised if you need to do more than one photoshoot to get all the images that you want. You should also be realistic about your dog’s energy levels and tolerance for posing. Some will happily mug for the camera for hours while others will last all of five minutes. If they seem to be getting irritated or exhausted, cut your session short and try again another day. And don’t forget to give them a bully stick for dogs as a reward for all their hard work!
Do you have more tips for getting perfect photos of your dog? Let us know in the comments below so we can all learn from each other!