Dog Photography Tips

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Our dogs are part of the family, just like other family members we love to have pictures of them on our walls, desks, computers, phones the list goes on. However, our dogs do not understand we want them to pose for the camera. Here are a few tips that can help:

1. It’s all about the lighting. Natural lighting without harsh shadows is the best. When shooting indoors open all the blinds and curtains to let in light. Avoid using the on camera flash which creates harsh shadows. If you have to use a flash try putting a piece of wax paper over it to defuse the lighting.

Early morning, late evening and overcast days are best for shooting outdoors. The light is more even creating softer shadows which really helps when you’re photographing a dark colored dog.

2. Keep the eyes in focus. Eyes can show a lot of expression. They say that eyes are the windows to the soul.

3. Show off their personality! Every dog has traits unique to them. Try and capture those traits in your photos. For example, if you have a lazy dog take a picture of him yawning. If your dog is playful take a picture of her playing or doing her favorite trick.

4. Fill your frame! Get in close, dogs can get lost in the picture. A nice close up will eliminate all/most background clutter and show your dog prominently. If you love a certain feature about your dog for example you love your dogs paw, take a close up of his paw and see how it turns out.

5. Use bribery! Keep your dogs favorite toys and treats ready. The key is to have a helper who can squeak the toy at just the right moment or offer the perfect treat. Try many different toys and/or treats until you get the shots you want. For some dogs a lot of repetition and patience will be necessary.

6. Shoot from different angles. Get down on your stomach, crouch to one knee or get up on a chair. Try taking the photos from several different angles. You can often eliminate a lot of clutter from your background just by changing the angle of your camera.

7. Take a lot of pictures. The nice thing about digital cameras, you can take lots of pictures. Try new things, if the pictures are not turning out the way you like with your dog by himself/herself try adding another dog(s) or his/her favorite toy.

8. Want a portrait of your pet? Try taking your dog out for a long walk or playing a game of fetch before you try taking the pictures of him sitting/laying still.

9. Include people! Pictures with you or other family members interacting with your dog can make images incredibly special for years to come. Try taking some photos that are staged, but make sure to include candid shots. Both types of shoots can capture the character of both the pet and the person and bring out emotions.

10. What’s in your background. You may have a great picture with a perfect expression on your dogs face but unfortunately you have a lot of clutter in the picture distracting from your dog. When taking photos try to have something like a green grass or something that is simple and non distracting. Much easier said than done, I know.


Have Fun! When you’re relaxed and having fun your dog is likely to be having fun. When you’re both having fun it will show in the photos you take.

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  1. James Watts says:

    Be sure to get inspiration as well! Photographers such as Seth Casteel or Tudor Costache are great to get ideas from:

  2. Kelley says:

    Inspiration is an important part, I often have an idea of what photos I want to take before I get started. Great website, some really good pictures.


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