Best Practices and Tips to Photograph Your Dog

Taking great photos is difficult at the best of times, however taking great photos of your pet dog can be a whole new challenge in itself. Taking pictures of animals is tricky because they won’t just sit or stand as they’re told. However, the secret to a great pet photo is really when you can capture it in the moment. The following are some of the best practices and tips that you can use to photograph your dog and get great photos from it.

dog with toy

Getting Your Dog to Cooperate

Getting your dog to cooperate can be a difficult thing, depending on the location and setting you’re taking your photos in. In the end it really comes down to patience and a lot of time. However here are a few additional tips to get you started.

When trying to get them to look at the camera you can do a few different things:

  • Have someone stand next to you or behind you with a toy or food to direct their vision towards the camera.
  • If you don’t have someone helping you, you have the option of doing a couple of things. These include:
  • Get a squeaky toy and holding it above your head while you take the shot with the other hand.
  • Get a hat with a band and place your phone securely between the band and the hat, and play a squeaky toy or a video that your pet will find intriguing to look at. This will help to free up your hands to catch that perfect shot.
  • Make funny sounds or higher pitched sounds to get their attention so they look your way.

When trying to get their attention, make sure your camera is focused and locked on their eyes, and the composition is set. You may only have one chance at getting the perfect shot.

Use Great Quality Equipment

While you don’t need to get the most expensive camera in the shop, you do need a good quality one that has a fast capture speed and flash. External flashes are the best choice for taking high quality photos. Especially if you’re going to do some indoor shoots. The flash will help to bring out your pet’s natural beauty, and will also fill in some of the immediate shadows on and around your pet. The flash will also capture the dog and freeze them in time creating a steady, clear, and detailed image.

While the flash is your best friend you still need to be careful about how you use it. The best thing you can do when using the flash on your pet is to point it just off to one side of your pet and not directly at them, unless of course you have some sort of diffuser. In most conditions, direct flash will make your pet look ugly, washed out, and just horrible. If you’re capturing indoor shots, and you have low ceilings, point the flash at the ceiling and let the flash reflect back down onto your pet while you take the photo. This will help to create a more natural light.

how to take close up photos of dogs

Taking Great Shots

There’s a few different guidelines to keep in mind when you want to photograph your dog. Here’s some rules to follow to bring out the best shots of your pet.
Always focus your camera on the eyes. Without focusing on the eyes you’re wasting your time. Try to place the camera on single point focus so you don’t have to worry about your camera autofocusing on the closest thing, which is generally the dog’s nose.

To gain a pleasing composition when cropping your image, try to focus on the closet eyeball that’s in the lower or upper frame quadrant.

When taking a photo try to get at or below the dog’s eye level. This will add a unique perspective and a more intimate feel to your image.

Close Up Portraits

For close up portraits of your dog, try and set your camera to aperture priority mode and the lens to the lowest f-stop number or widest aperture possible. The next thing you need to do is get them to sit or stand a few feet from the background before you get as close to your subject as possible so their head is in the frame. When taking photos with this setting you may have some pictures with a blurry nose and head but focused eyes. If you want the whole head to be more in focus, simply close the aperture slightly. Another alternative is to zoom out slightly.

Taking a great photo of your dog isn’t impossible. By knowing some of the tips and tricks as seen above you can easily capture that perfect photo you’ve been looking for. So have you managed to take a great photo of your pet dog?

About the Author:
Born in Mexico, a country of vivid beauty and colourful people, Cecilia Casillas brings the passion of her country of birth into her current artistic work with pets. Cecilia has painted since childhood, and studied with Mexican painter Paul Achar and Chilean painter Carlos Arias. In 2014, she came to Melbourne to continue refining her artistic skills, and finishing her bachelor’s degree. Founding Colour Pet Studio in 2014 has allowed her to share her pet painting skills with people from all over the world. She now brings pet owners joy through her painting.

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