How to Take the Best Pictures of Your Dog

To get a stunning image of your dog, you need almost everything you need for photography, such as wildlife - patience, the flexibility of lighting and exposure, awareness of the feelings of the animal, and many, many pictures! Well, the good news is that the advent of affordable digital cameras made this task as easy as possible. A digital camera allows you to take as many pictures as you want, so don't hesitate - the more shots you take, the more chances you will have a perfect image. 

Photography has become an integral part of our lives. And we want to keep in mind all the good moments as long as possible. Pets play a special role in our lives. Especially dogs, because they are people's best friends. Each dog is unique, and in the eyes of its owner, the pet is the most beautiful animal on Earth. It should be so. But how do you capture its character, personality, these rare features of your dog in photographs that you will keep for the rest of your life? Here are some helpful photography tips to help you!

How to make great dog photography: technical aspects

To take a beautiful and memorable photo of your dog, you need to follow these technical  tips:

  • watch your background;

  • keep track of focus;

  • focus on the eyes;

  • choose the right time to shoot;

  • don’t forget about photo editing.

And now let's talk about these things in more detail:

  1. Watch your background

Unlike shooting human portraits, attention should be paid to the background and the floor! Since the dog is small and close to the ground, any debris or other distracting objects will be conspicuous in any dog photography. If it is possible, remove these objects or change the location, it is better to do this than to spend hours cleaning up the trash in Photoshop.

  1. Keep track of focus

Since the animals move very quickly, you must set the camera for a short exposure time; otherwise, you will get a series of blurry shots every time your dog moves its head. On a DSLR, select shutter priority mode and a fast frame rate of 1 / 200-sec speed or faster and let the camera set its shutter speed setting. Or, if you're using a point-and-click camera, choose Sport Mode, which is programmed for fast-moving subjects. If your camera has a continuous shooting option, set it up - you might get lucky and get a whole series of fantastic shots of your dog in action.

  1. All focus on the eyes

If your goal is to see only the dog on photography, the eyes are the most expressive part of an animal's face, so if you want to create fascinating pictures, focus on the facial expressions. To get your puppy's attention, try whining softly. You will attract it and get a curious face in the frame, which looks directly into the camera, and it seems that now it will say: "Woof!" 

  1. Choose the right time to shoot

A very important tip for successful photography: shooting within two hours after dawn and two hours before sunset is considered optimal, but this time also varies depending on the time of year. To find out the hours of dawn and sunset, just go to any weather forecast site. We recommend using a special program on your smartphone, where you can also see on the map where the sun will rise or set at your chosen location.

  1. Photo editing 

Don't be afraid to edit digital photos. For them, the process of small edits is almost mandatory since even the most perfect camera does not see the scene as the human eye sees. Adjustments to contrast and brightness are almost always required, and it is often useful to adjust saturation and range of colors. In fact, for any photo, especially with dogs, it is useful to try auto color correction and see if it gets better. All these corrections can be done in any photo editor, including free ones, such as Google Photo.


How to make great dog photography: general tips

Now we will consider the general tips which will make a photo session with your dog the best:

  • don’t be afraid to get dirty;

  • let others participate in the process;

  • thank your dog;

  • surprise your dog;

  • consider your dog’s temperament;

  • experiment and have fun!

  1. Don't be afraid to get dirty

As you photograph people, the camera should be at eye level with your model, so you need to sit down or even lie down on the ground. Ignoring this simple photography tip is probably the most typical mistake when people do dog photography.

  1. Let others participate in the process

Another photography tip - you should not be afraid that people will get into the frame. After all, this photo will be especially dear to you in the future if it shows another beloved creature. Sometimes, just a pair of hands hugging the dog in the frame is enough to add extra emotional warmth to the image. It can also be a way to keep an overactive dog in place long enough for you to take a picture!

And of course, it is much easier to get good dog photography if you are completely focused on shooting and not on a few other things at the same time, such as drawing attention. Also, the partner can hold a reflector or flash to highlight shadows. And in general, it will be more fun :) 

  1. Thank your dog

Always take a toy or favorite treat with you for a walk to thank it after a photoshoot. Dogs love when they are praised. In addition, a new unconditional reflex is created, and next time the dog will gladly take part in a new photoshoot. Remember, if the dog is not interested in anything, it will lose interest in this boring activity over time.

  1. Surprise your dog

Learn to make different sounds with your mouth, but you can buy a special toy, a chicken, or a pig if you can’t. And don't be afraid to sound funny to passers-by; the result you get deserves it.

  1. Consider your dog's temperament

It is necessary to take into account the individual characteristics of your dog when you make photography: breed, temperament, age. It is impossible to require a small puppy to follow the commands that a big dog does easily; the puppy is easier to catch in motion, play, or when it sleeps. Also, each breed has its characteristics, and some simply cannot be made to pose the way you want. No need to be offended and yell at the dog - this will only spoil the photoshoot. It is better to be patient and wait until the dog takes the necessary position on its own. 

  1. Experiment and have fun!

If you're stumped, try a different angle or change your lens. And remember, the best photos come out when you convey genuine emotion, so have fun with your dog!


The most important recommendation

If you don't succeed the first time, don't give up. The more your dog gets used to being around your camera, the better it will learn to ignore it and behave naturally.

Maybe your first photo shoot with a dog will not be great, but any skill is achieved with great effort that must be applied over a long time. We hope that our photography tips have helped you and make it easier for you to take unforgettable photography with your pet.


How to make a great photo of dog FAQ

  • How to prepare for a photoshoot with a dog?

Before you start shooting, make sure you are using the correct lens, and your camera is set to the correct shooting mode. If you have a single-lens reflex camera, you can use the high-power zoom lens to take close-up shots from a distance without poking the camera in the dog's face.

  • Why do you need to use a telephoto or a zoom lens?

Many dogs are very easily distracted by the camera: they will leave everything they do just to check what you are doing there. But the solution is pretty simple: hide with a telephoto or zoom lens! The animal doesn't even need to know that you are there. In addition, telephoto lenses create a natural perspective.

  • How should the dog be placed in the photo?

A dog positioned in the frame from left to right looks more natural, and its movements

look more rapid. When building compositions, you should use the golden ratio.

  • What should I do before the photoshoot?

Take a good walk and play with your dog before taking the photo. A dog that has been running around and walking more often listens to the owner's commands more willingly and behaves more calmly and predictably, which will make the process of photography easier for you.

  • How to choose a location for dog photography?

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a location to photoshoot: first, it should be a place with a few people so that you can let the dog off-leash. Secondly, the more diverse the location itself, the more interesting pictures you can get.

(Aug 22, 2021) Clemence Servonnat Inspiration

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