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How to Photograph Your Dog

8 tips on photographing your dog

Photographing your dog is never easy, discover 8 simple recommendations from the Wag Club.

You’re desperate to catch those doleful eyes and those magical moments with your much-loved dog but how do you do it? These four-legged friends of ours aren’t always the most cooperative when the camera comes out! Capturing those frame-worthy snaps requires effort, a little camera knowledge and the odd treat or two.

Here at doggy day care we’ve had some fun capturing shots of your fabulous pooches over the years, so here are our top tips.

  1. It’s all about the love

Don’t get too fixated on the perfect shot. The most important thing is that you have fun with your pooch. This is more likely going to result in the picture you’re after. So relax, have fun and bring the camera along too. This way you’ll capture the natural shots you really want.

  1. Think about your dog’s character

What is it that makes your dog so unique? Are they a homebody who loves nothing more than a Sunday afternoon in front of the fire? Do they come alive dashing through waves on the beach? Or perhaps they dart and roll given an abundance of crispy leaves on Hampstead Heath?

Whatever it is that makes your dog’s heart sing, this is where you should try to photograph them. If they are action loving big puppies take them to the woods where they can run and jump, for example. If you’ve got an old girl, then a portrait at home could work better.

That said, for a photo session try to either pick a time or location away from other dog walkers. In London that can be a bit tricky, but choose early in the day and the lighting will help you capture wonderful photos too.

  1. Realise the clock is ticking

It’s bad enough for humans, but realistically the best shots will likely be the first ones taken. This is a lesson we’ve learned the hard way at doggy day care! All but the most tolerant of pooches lose interest in having their photo taken. They can’t even be enticed like children by viewing their beautiful selves afterwards!

Therefore, be prepared at the beginning to work quickly. If you want them running around fetching sticks or hurdling logs then bring a friend to help you out. Get the photos done quickly because all too soon the game will be boring and you’ll have a panting and less photogenic dog on your hands.

  1. Know a little about cameras

You don’t need to be a pro-photographer to capture fabulous shots of your dog. However, if you’re using a DSLR then a few little tips can help. Choose a wide aperture setting such as f4 (or the portrait setting on automatic). This should ensure that your dog (the subject) is in sharp focus with a softened background. This is what makes your shot capture the personality of your beloved dog.

Take care to choose a background which isn’t too ‘busy’. Instead woodlands, parks, beaches and the like can present a perfect canvas for the soft background.

When looking through the lens, use the autofocus light prompts to hone in on the dog’s eyes. Get this right and you’ll get some incredible shots.

  1. Think about colours

Photographing a black dog at dusk, or a russet coloured hound in autumnal leaves can work. However, it’s tricky and the territory of professional photographers. Choose a background which will showcase your dog in all its glory without you tying yourself up in knots over camera settings and, later, with editing software.

In fact, photographing black dogs can be the trickiest of all. Cameras don’t really ‘get’ black! Try to photograph them in as light a location as possible.

  1. Get down to their level and reward them

You’re probably a good few feet taller than your dog! To get the best photos, crouch down and get to their level. This will bring you eye to eye and make for a better and more natural looking shot.

It also helps your dog to feel more relaxed and interactive with the camera. Don’t forget to have a few treats in your pocket to reward a job well done.

  1. Get in the photo too

The relationship with your dog is exactly that – a relationship. What makes it so wondrous is the loyalty and love between you. Capturing this in a photo is magical.

For this you’ll need a friend behind the camera for you. You can then playfully and lovingly focus on demonstrating the bond between you, while your friend clicks away. Go somewhere you both love, have some fun, but get some photos too.

  1. Use toys as props

If your dog is proving to be tricky to photograph with success, then it’s time to get their favourite toys in on the act. Rather than detract from the photo, it is often their favourite toys which make for the adorable moments.

Squeaky toys are particularly handy when it comes to trying to snag that shot. Get a friend to squeak a toy just over your shoulder – you’ll suddenly have an opportunity to catch that cocked head wide-eyed look.

Taking photos of your dog can be a fun and enjoyable experience. Capturing the images to adorn your walls and frames is an added benefit.

Still struggling? Did you know that we have a resident in-house dog photographer? Find out more about how we can photograph your dog.