10 Tips to Take Better Photos of Your Dog
Taking great photos of dogs is tricky. They wiggle, they run, they chase after the neighbors cat so you end up with photos of your dogs back legs running away or a blurry mess.
Taking good photos of your dog is part luck and part skill. But don’t worry, there are a few ways to help take your photos to the next level. Here are 10 tips to take better photos of your dog:
1. Don’t Wait for the Perfect Pose
Since most of us use digital cameras we don’t have to worry about the cost of developing film. You don’t have to wait for the perfect shot; you can take a ton of photos now and sort through them later. The more shots you take the better your chances of getting a great photo.
If I didn’t take 100+ photos every time I went out with Laika I’d end up with mostly blurry shots. She wiggles, she runs around, and she’ll only hold a pose for a few seconds at a time. By taking way more than I need I up the chances of getting a really great one.
2. Stick With Natural Light
Flashes are tricky, especially with dark colored dogs. They can also create that creepy glowing eye issue. Try taking your photos of your dog outside in the morning or evening, avoiding direct sunlight if possible. When you take photos in direct sunlight you can end up with exposure issues and a lot of shadows.
3. Change Your Angle
If you’re taking a lot of photos at once you should experiment with different angles. You don’t want to end up looking at 500 photos of your dog looking in the same direction later one, so put a little variety in your shots. Take some from above, or try getting down on the ground and take some from their level.
Focus on different parts of the dog – get some good eye shots and some decent snout ones. Make sure to take some full body shots as well.
4. Abide By the Rule of Thirds
Familiarize yourself with the Rule of Thirds and study some examples of it in practice. After awhile you’ll start to develop an eye for it in your own shots. Try keeping the most interesting parts of your shot at one of the intersecting points.
5. Keep the Background Simple
If you’re trying to showcase your dog you don’t want a busy background to be distracting. Try to imagine a good photograph you’ve seen of a person or animal – does the background factor in?
If you have a camera with a wide aperture setting try it out – if you set your dogs eyes as the main focus you should end up with some great shots.
6. Consider Your Pet’s Character
You might have that “perfect” photo in mind that you’d like to get of your dog, but remember to keep your dog’s unique personality in mind. Snap some shots while your dog is doing what they do naturally, whether that’s lounging on the couch or playing with his doggie friends.
If he’s lazy get some decent shots of him snoozing on the couch. Photos can capture the personality of their subject — they can also make them more endearing. If you have a feisty pup get some action shots. Candid shots of your dog being himself are a great way to capture your dog’s personality.
7. Add People Into Your Photos
In addition to getting lots of photos of your dog alone remember to get your friends and family involved. Take some shots of your dog hanging out with your husband on the couch or playing fetch.
Grab some candid photos of Fido playing with the kids or set them down for a nice portrait. Candid shots of people sleeping with their dogs are some of the sweetest images around.
8. Keep It Fun
When it comes to trying to get your dog to sit still for a photo things can get frustrating, but it’s important to try to keep it as fun as possible. Your dog doesn’t know why you’re trying to make him sit still for 5 minutes next to that tree — so remember to bring along rewards and keep up the praise.
Have fun, try making some weird noises to get some questionable looks from your pooch. Grab one of his favorite toys and make him wait for it, the look of anticipation can be a great shot.
9. Be Prepared for a Long Editing Process
Be prepared to spend a lot of time editing afterwards. You don’t need a fancy program to get great results. Crop, resize, contrast – they should all be tools you can use in any basic paint or photoshop program.
If you end up with some decent photos you can turn them into something fantastic with editing. Most of the magic of a stunning photograph takes place while editing.
10. Be Patient
Dog’s aren’t always the easiest models, so if you don’t get the best shot today remember you can try again tomorrow. And don’t forget to take way more photos than you think you’ll need; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve managed to get a great shot when I wasn’t expecting it.
Does Your Dog Make a Good Model?
Is your dog easy to photograph? Do you have a hard time getting your dog to sit still for photographs? What tips do you use to take better photos of your dog?
Resources & Recommended Reading
- How to Take Better Pictures of Your Dog
- 41 Cute Dog Photos to Inspire You
- 13 Tips for Taking Incredible Photos of Your Dog