How to Photograph Puppies in Natural Light

Regardless of how good a photographer is, if you were to ask for a piece of advice on photographing animals or kids they would probably say, “Don’t work with either!” There are good reasons, too. But then, the promise of a bunch of cute photos is too much to pass on an opportunity to photograph them, that is, if you do manage to make things work your way. In this video, Emma and her support crew from WeeklyImogen try their hands at making some cute puppy photos. Do they succeed? Watch the video:

You have to give them credit for doing a good job and getting away with cute images. Through their trials and tribulations we get to learn a few things. Here they are in a summarized form:

1. Exercise the Dog Beforehand

Small puppies bundles of energy. They will wriggle (Banksy gave Emma a tough time) around, constantly move, and follow their natural instincts. It’s difficult to have them sit down and take commands and then strike a pose. Unless of course the puppy is tired. Exercise the puppy before the session and sap away some of that energy. In the case of Banksy, though, that didn’t seem to work at all!

tips to photograph your puppy

An exercised puppy will probably be less fidgety.

2. Choose a Good Background

A contrasting background works. But in this case Banksy being black and white and the background being off-white created issues with the exposure.

3. Introduce the Camera

Little puppies are extremely inquisitive (though from personal experience, cats can be even more inquisitive). Introducing a new thing to them, like a camera, gets their attention somewhat.

natural light pet photography

Introduce the camera.

4. Be Generous with Treats!

Don’t forget the treats! Your fingers depend on it! Treats are necessary to keep the puppy interested, and it gets the idea that obeying commands leads to rewards.

5. Get the Dog’s Attention

Make noises and funny gestures. Do anything it takes to capture the pup’s attention. Calling the one word that grabs the puppy’s attention is great to elicit a fantastic reaction. You have to be ready to capture that moment in a split second. But doing it frequently and for too long wears out the magic.

6. Elevate the Puppy

Puppies, in general, are scared of heights. They’ll likely stay frozen on the spot if they realize they’re all by themselves at an elevated position. It’s a trick you can use to stop them from being fidgety. However, never ever do this without proper safety measures. Ideally, place cushions around, just in case the puppy jumps or falls. Have an extra pair of alert hands to tend to the puppy if it gets nervous and seems likely to jump.

how to photograph puppies

Placing the puppy at a height restricts its movements.

7. Avoid Color Matching

Color matching can backfire, especially if the puppy in question is black, as Banksy is. Wear something that contrasts with the color of the puppy.

tips to photograph a puppy

Try not to color match

8. Have Oodles of Patience

Patience is the key when you’re photographing puppies (or for that matter, any animal). You may have to retry several times before you get the shot you want. You will also have to account for breaks between shots.

Like these tips? Go ahead and use them photographing your puppy and share your results with us!

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