Taking photos of dogs is no easy feat, but if you take the time to do it properly, you will get rewarding results.
The truth is, you don’t need fancy camera gear or a trained eye to capture beautiful memories of your dogs. All you need are these 10 simple dog photography tips!
Do you want the photoshoot to be candid or planned? Is there a certain theme or mood you want to showcase in the photos? These are just some questions you should ask yourself so you can prepare costumes, venues, backdrops and props if necessary.
Once you have a particular idea you want to execute, try finding photos in a similar vein that can serve as a good reference.
2. Exercise Fido
If your dog tends to get fidgety or unmanageable when taking photos, be sure to bring her out on a long walk first to bring down her energy level.
You don’t want to be chasing after your dog the whole time or spending a significant amount of time getting her to stay still for a shot.
3. Get camera-ready
Getting camera-ready doesn’t always mean elaborate costumes or a trip to the spa. It can simply be a quick bath and a nice brush to make sure your dog looks fresh and great for the camera.
If your dog is food motivated like me, treats are a lifesaver (I also consider this a win-win situation). To avoid overfeeding your dog, break the treats down into tiny pieces before you start the session.
For long photography sessions, bring a variety of treats from low to high value. Once your dog gets bored of a lower value treat, entice her with a higher value one. Don’t forget to hydrate your dog too!
5. Squeaky toys and props
Is your dog far from a greedy pup? Noisy or high-pitched items can be very helpful alternatives in grabbing your dog’s attention, even if it’s just for a short while. Squeaky toys, bells and plastic bottles will all do!
6. Light is your Friend
We seldom take our photos in the late evening, even with the DSLR. Whether you are using a camera phone or professional gear, natural lighting is your best friend; which is why outdoor shots usually produce the best results.
Applying the same logic, go to the brightest space when taking photos indoors. That is likely to be next to a window.
If you are using a DSLR, beat your dog’s fast moments by setting your camera to a high shutter speed and high ISO.
7. Avoid distractions
Remember that your dog is the star. Pay attention to possible distractions, such as random strangers or an unsightly rubbish bin in the background that would ruin your photos. Shoot with a wider aperture (I like to use F2.8 and below) to give a nice soft blur on the unfocused areas.
Be careful not to overdo it though, some apps or phones artificially add the lens blur, and it doesn’t look real.
8. Focus on the eyes
For beautiful portraits, it’s important to keep your dog’s eyes sharp. Always focus your camera on their eyes, and you won’t go wrong!
If your pet has a long snout, the camera might be confused about where to focus, so you’ll need to ensure the focus point is aimed at your pet’s eyes.
9. Keep snapping
When taking photos of pets, you can either wait for the stars to align before taking the photo, or you can keep snapping. The latter may be a wiser option, especially if you are a beginner with a fidgety dog. I use the burst mode and the Al Servo mode on my Canon 80D to capture quick movement while maintaining focus.
10. Get down to the ground
Are all your photos looking at like it’s been taken while you’re standing, with your dog looking up? Perhaps it’s time for some variation. Hold your camera at your dog’s eye level, or better yet, lie down on your belly to capture your dog at their level. This will give your photos a beautiful perspective.
Do you have any dog photography tips to share with fellow dog owners? Feel free to comment below!