We all know how hard it can be to take a pic of our beloved pup. Dogs don’t like to look at the camera and they always seem to be wiggling, moving or ignoring our every attempt to capture them in perfect photo bliss. It can be frustrating to want to fill up our phones with our dog’s adorable antics but never being able to get those perfect, Instagram worthy shots to show off to our friends and neighbors. Luckily, there a few tricks of the trade that can make taking photos of our fur babies much easier and turn both human and pup into photography pros!
Know Your Dog’s Personality
Part of being a better pet photographer is knowing how to capture your subject’s true essence. If you know that you have an active, energetic dog, don’t expect them to sit calmly for photos or spend many minutes letting you dress them up or posing them just right. Instead, gear your photos towards matching your dog’s personality by taking action shots of your dog playing in the mud, swimming, or chasing squirrels. The photos will look more natural and will better reflect your dog’s unique personality. Alternatively, if you have an older or lazier dog, capture them sleeping or casually sniffing the air. Just let your dog be themself in front of the camera!
Exercise Your Dog First
Going along with the first tip is the idea of exercising your dog before starting your photo session. If you know you have an active dog who just want to go for a run or explore the outdoors, let them first before taking out the camera. If you try to get your dog to cooperate and sit still for his photos before letting him burn off energy, you’re going to get frustrated (and so will your dog!) Instead, wear your dog out both physically and mentally and then try taking his photos once he’s more relaxed. You’ll find that your pup is much more willing to sit or let you put that funny hat on him if he’s all tuckered out!
Bribe Your Way Through It
There’s no shame is bribing your way through a photo session with your dog. After all, your dog doesn’t understand (or care) about getting his picture taken and will always focus more attention on what makes him happy. So, with that in mind, make your dog happy! Bring his favorite treats or toys along for the photo shoot and bribe him to sit still long enough to snap that perfect pic. Or, for some extra fun, include the bribes in the photos. Throw a ball for your pup and then click away as he jumps to catch or retrieve it. Hold a treat in front of the camera and take a shot of your dog giving the puppy dog eyes. Either way, just make sure that your dog is getting something for all his hard work!
Use a Faster Shutter Speed
A lot of our frustration in trying to take pet pics comes from the fact that they simply won’t sit still. Blurry images of our dogs moving their heads at the last minute or wagging their tails too quickly is all too familiar to us wannabe photography pet parents. Luckily, a simple solution to this problem could be more technical than behavioral. Simply upping the shutter speed on your camera or switching to burst mode on your smart phone could solve the issue. The faster your camera’s shutter, the better you’ll be at capturing those action shots. Shooting in burst mode on your smart device also mimics a camera’s shutter and will give you many beautiful action shots that are all in perfect focus.
Choose the Right Location and Lighting
When it comes to any kind of photography, lighting and location are key. Trying to get a good image of your dog indoors during nighttime will be much harder than capturing them outdoors in the daylight. Going along with this, natural light is always better than harsh camera flashes or stage lights (unless you’re going for a moody, more particular look), and locations should be open, bright and free from dark shadows. If you want more natural, woodsy photos of your pup, set them up outside standing on a rock or against a tree-line or lake. If you want a more homey, relaxed feel, have your dog sit on the porch or lay by the sandbox with the kids. As with real-estate, it’s all about location, location, location!
Sometimes, it just takes a village. Asking someone to help take photos of your pet might make the process faster and easier. Try asking a friend or family member who your dog knows well to stand off camera and distract them with treats or toys while you shoot. Have this person hidden out of frame and hold your dog’s leash or give commands for you if needed. Alternatively, your friend could be in charge of the camera or phone while you pose with your pup or get them to cooperate. Any way you envision capturing your pup on camera, an extra set of hands will always be helpful!
Be Patient & Keep it Fun
At the end of the day, getting photos of your pup should be fun and rewarding for the both of you. Our dogs live every moment to the fullest and sometime that means not stopping for photos or instagram posts. Be patient with your pup as you try to capture their cuteness and understand that they’re not purposefully ruining your perfect photo dreams. Forcing your dog to sit and stay for a photo when they don’t want to or dressing them up with props when they’re uncomfortable will only make for a poor image where your dog looks scared or upset and you get frustrated. On the flip side, if your dog is having fun and feels totally relaxed, your images will reflect that. Sometimes, waiting for the best moment to capture your pup in camera just means being patient and looking out for those perfect, candid moments.
We all love taking photos of our dogs and we hope that with these simple tricks and tips, you will be on your way to achieving the perfect pet portraits of your dreams! (And yes, we always want to see photos of your pup!)