Dog owners: are you guilty of snapping endless photographs of your beloved pooch? Of course we already know the answer is “Oh yes!”, but it can be trickier than you think to get photos that are good enough to become photo wall art, or even upload to social media.
So to make every one of your dog photos worthy of putting on your wall, whether physical or digital, here are our essential tips for taking photos of dogs that you’ll love to share. Not that you need an excuse to take more!
Bribe them with treats.
The first step to getting those great portraits of your dog is to persuade them to actually sit still – and a bulging pocket full of treats is your secret weapon.
Start by giving your dog a few treats before taking any photos, so that they know there are snacks on offer. Then hold the treats in front of your dog in the direction that you’d like them to look (directly above your camera lens will make them look into the camera) and they should magically pay attention.
You could even go one step further and make some tasty morsels part of the photo, as beautifully demonstrated above by Scout the pitbull of Stuff on Scout’s Head fame – just make sure you let them have a taste straight after the photo shoot or they may never ‘sit’ for you ever again!
Use natural light where possible.
Natural light is almost always the best option for a photo, so if you’re planning a photoshoot session with your dog, try to time it for around midday when the sun is brightest.
This will also remove the need to use a flash, which can result in your dog having a serious case of ‘red-eye’ on the photos.
Consider the photo background.
Dogs are already difficult to photograph, and even more so when they have black or dark-coloured fur.
Make your pooch ‘pop’ by photographing them in front of a bright and colourful background, such as a grassy field, a bed of flowers, bold wallpaper or even a blanket hung from a wall. Try to keep the background simple to keep as much focus on your pup as possible, just as you would when taking a portrait of a person.
Increase your shutter speed.
If you’re able to adjust the settings on the camera you’re using, increasing the shutter speed will give you the best chance of capturing blur-free photos of your dog as they run, play and roll.
Many digital cameras also have a ‘Sports’ setting that will automatically increase the shutter speed for you, and save you having to fiddle with the controls and watch over your dog at the same time!
Catch them doing what they love.
Not all dogs like to sit still, and trying to put your dog in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation for the sake of a photo will probably not go to plan. And unless you know that your dog genuinely doesn’t mind wearing costumes or props, you should leave the silly hats and tutus on the costume shop shelves.
Instead, capture your dog at their best by allowing them to do their favourite things, whether that’s playing with their favourite squeaky toy, enjoying a belly rub, running through fallen leaves in the garden or just napping away in the sunshine. Your photos will be so much better when your dog appears relaxed and happy, just as they should be!
Get them to ‘smile’.
Taking dogs for a brisk walk, or allowing them to run around and play with toys before taking photos is a trick that professional dog photographers use because it gets them a little out of breath, and makes them ‘smile’!
Of course this will also help to make your pooch more patient as they’ll have burned off some excess energy. Pause your photoshoot at regular intervals for another play session to keep them happy and active.
Mix up your angles.
Capture interesting images of your dog by trying out different angles. Photograph them from behind as they look over their shoulder; lay on the floor with them and shoot them ‘on their level’; get close-ups of their paws, nose or ears; there are so many possibilities!
And when you’ve finally snapped those perfect pup photos, put them on display by having them made into a beautiful canvas photo print or piece of photo wall art to treasure forever. Do you have more tips on dog photography? Share them with us in the comments below.