Dog Photography: 5 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Dog
If you’re a dog owner, you probably have hundreds of photos of your pooch, ready to show them off at a moment's notice. Whether they’re sleeping in a funny position, soaking up the sun or just being their wagnificent self, every moment is a great photo opportunity. And while your best furriend is perfect in your eyes, capturing their loveliness on camera is often another story!
That’s where Andy, Yappy’s supawstar photographer is here to help! By following his 5 top tips for taking pet portraits, you’ll soon be capturing your dog in a dazzling new light.
Say cheese! No, I don’t actually have any cheese. Come on, look this way… No, this way. Over here, look at me… Perfect… Oh, Shih Tzu!
Does this sound familiar?
The most important aspect of photographing dogs - or any animal for that matter - is patience. Calm, collected, saint-like patience. Just like small children, dogs tend to do whatever they want, when they want, and they don’t always respond in ways you expect.
Put yourself in your dog’s shoes (or paws), having a camera or a phone pointed in your face could seem pretty bewildering. So, being patient and taking your time to get a good snap is crucial to pet photography.
2. Get them used to the environment
Give your dog time to settle and get used to the environment. If they’re in a place they’ve never been to before then let them explore and sniff everything first, so they’re more relaxed. The best pictures will be taken when everyone is comfortable and relaxed and that includes the dogs.
You can even play with your dog or dogs beforehand or give them some treats so that they get familiar with the area and with you. If you’re somewhere they know well like your house or a walk they’ve been on before, still take some time to get them used to your camera or phone.
3. Make some noise
Once you’ve got your dog relaxed and comfortable, getting their attention and looking towards the camera will make a more impactful photograph.
Clicks, whistles, and saying words softly will often capture their attention and draw their eyeline towards the camera. Sometimes this might just be a simple trick of making their ears stand up, look at camera or even raise their head slightly. Having a squeaky toy or the dog’s owner next to the camera (if you’re taking a photo of someone else’s dog) will also help.
As most dogs recognise their name as a recall command, just be aware that if you say their name, they may just come towards you and the camera.
4. Treats are your new best friend
Like most people, dogs are easily motivated by food. Treats will therefore be your new best friend. Always make sure you have a pack of their favourite treats on hand, either to entice them to do what you want or as a reward for good behaviour.
If you’ve withheld a treat for a few seconds to entice them to sit or stay, always give them the treat immediately afterwards as a reward to encourage the positive experience and good behaviour. The experience of taking photos should be a positive one for the dog so that they’re not scared of a camera or the actions involved.
5. Get low
Whenever you’re doing a portrait session with people, you want the camera to be eye level with your subject for the most flattering and engaging photos of them. The same is true for dogs! However, as they’re a lot smaller, this often involves laying on the floor or sitting low down near them. Try and focus on their eyes if you can, as this level of engagement with the camera/you will make for more impactful images, as if the dog is looking straight at the person viewing the picture.
When you’re at their level, the dog you’re taking a photo of will usually interact with you more so expect cuddles, a tail in your face or them trying to lie on your lap!
Now it’s your turn!
Put these tips into practise and you’ll soon be capturing pawfect photos of your dog.