We’ve all seen adorable photos of dogs in magazines, and those super cute pics that our friends post of their pups on social media. How do they do it? It may seem impossible, but with a few quick tips, you can take great photos of your dog too!
Most dog’s don’t sit still. Sometimes it’s difficult to get them to look at the camera. Have you ever tried to take a picture of your dog and he ends up looking like the most depressed dog on the planet? And, let’s not forget those times when you don’t remember to shut off the flash and your Fido ends up looking like an alien with laser beam eyes.
We’ve all been there, don’t worry.
I’ve learned a few tricks over my years of being a dog owner that have helped me take better pictures of my pets. I used to dread family photos with our dogs, but now it’s a simple and painless process. In fact, I have so many great pictures of our pack that I am constantly rotating the ones that I display in our home.
MORE TIPS: How-to Videos for Dog Owners
How to Take Great Photos of Your Dog
1. Get used to your camera
Whether you’re using a smartphone, point-and-shoot camera or a professional camera, you need to familiarize yourself with all of its features. Learn how to turn the flash on and off, how to work the zoom and how to snap the photo when you’re ready.
If you’re using a professional camera, learn about the lenses that come with it and what each lens can do. Read through the manual and figure out which features you’ll need to know how to use.
RELATED: 5 Must-Have Dog Photography Tools
2. Use natural lighting as much as possible
Lighting is the most difficult part of taking professional looking photos. There’s a lot to learn about the angels and different types of light. Yes, that’s right. There are different types of lighting.
Soft, natural lighting is the easiest to shoot in. Sunlight is your friend! If you have no desire to be a professional photographer, stick with natural lighting. Take photos outside or in an open room indoors with lots of windows.
You want to be in the light of the sun, but not direct sunlight. If the sun is pointing directly at the camera there will be a glare. Try to shoot your photos in an area outdoors that is not right in front of the sun or shoot at a different angle so the camera doesn’t pick up the glare.
3. Use a motivator
Your dog probably won’t look at the camera naturally. Even if you’re calling his name, he’s not going to want to stare at your camera while you line up the perfect shot. He’ll probably get bored quickly after he hears you say his name a few times, and if you’re outside there is likely to be a few distractions around.
That’s why you need a motivator. What motivates your Fido? A toy? A treat? Whatever he likes, use it to your advantage.
As I demonstrate in my video guide at the top of this page, use the motivator to attract your pet’s attention to camera. Hold the toy or treat right behind your camera when you’re ready to snap the photo. Your pup will be staring at his reward, but the phot you’ll capture will look like he’s staring right at you.
4. Use props or clothing
The best dog photos use props to set the tone. Look at the photo on the left. The man has used a pair of glasses and a book to take an adorable picture of his pooch.
You can do the same thing, and you don’t have to spend any money to do it. Does your dog have a few articles of clothing? What do you have around your home that could spice up the picture you’re taking.
As I mention in my video review, it’s spring where I live (in Maine). That means there is mud everywhere! I could easily take a super cute photoshoot with my dogs in the mud. Our Labrador already has a yellow raincoat, and I could add a few rubber ducks or an umbrella to the picture to make it even more adorable.
Think outside the box and get creative. Hats, scarves, clothing, glasses and many other everyday objects can be used to make your puppy pictures really stand out. If you have an older, mellow dog you could turn her into a librarian with a stack of books.
A hyperactive puppy would look adorable rolling around in a pile of fake flowers. Use your imagination or do a quick Google search for inspiration.
5. Try some different angels
You don’t have to take traditional straight-on photos of your pet. Try out some different angels to get some really cool photos. Getting down on the ground, like the man in the photo above, may spur your curious pooch to come over and investigate the camera. You may end up with a photo of Fido sniffing the lens.
Climb up on a chair and take a picture of your pet from above. Shoot him from the sides. Again, this is where your creativity could really create some amazing shots. You just have to be willing to move around and try a few angels that you never thought of before.
You don’t have to take pictures of your dog’s entire body either. Try taking up close photos of his paws or nose. You may want to snap a pic of his cute little tail. These pictures may not be the traditional pose that you were thinking of, but they may actually end up being some of your favorites!
6. If you want emotions, you’re going to have to work for them
Hoping for a picture of your dog at rest? Then you better be sure to wear him out before your photo shoot. Hoping to capture your dog’s excited face? You’re going to have to work for it.
When a dog pants, his lips naturally curl up in a smile. Get your dog excited if you’re going for this look. Throw his ball a few times or go for a quick run. You don’t want to completely wear him out, but get him excited enough to start panting. Now, you’ll be able to take the picture you want of your pooches happy, smiling face.
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