How to Take Good Pictures of Your Dog (And What to Do with the Photos)

Sarah V. picture of a dog

If your a dog owner, you're very familiar with the benefits of living with dogs. You're also very familiar with the challenges of getting an excited pup to sit still for longer than a few seconds.

Getting the perfect picture of a dog is no easy task, but you can make the job easier with some simple tricks. From the timing to the location, the details of the photoshoot often affect the final results.

When you're done, you should have several shots to print or turn into custom keepsakes. Improve your dog photos with these tips.

Pick the Best Location

Getting a good shot is all about making your dog comfortable. If he loves romping around int he backyard, do the shoot at home. Choose a spot with the least amount of distractions as possible.

Good lighting improves the quality of your images. Natural light works well for photos, so consider an outdoor location to take advantage of the sunlight. Taking photos indoors may require a flash, which can cause eyes to look strange and can scare dogs.

Photographers often prefer to take outdoor photos during the golden hour. The term refers to roughly the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, when the light is diffused and softer. It can produce more flattering results than photos taken during harsh daytime light.

Consider the background no matter where you take the pictures. Look for a simple, uncluttered background so the focus remains on your pet.

Consider the Timing

Use your knowledge of your pup to determine the best time to take photos. The goal is for your dog to be as cooperative as possible. If your dog gets rowdy and difficult to control in the afternoon, try an early morning shoot.

Think about the type of shots you want. If you want action shots with your dog running around, plan the shoot when your dog is most energetic. If you're looking for calm photos of your dog lying down, take the photos after an intense play session or long walk when he's tired.

Get Comfortable With the Camera

If your pet isn't used to being your photography subject, your phone or camera can be distracting. Spend some time letting him explore the camera before you start taking photos. Let him sniff the camera or phone to check it out.

Play with your pup or give him treats while you have the phone out to create a positive association.

If you're using a camera that makes noises, take a few test shots. This gets your dog used to the sounds so they don't distract him when you're trying to get the perfect shot.

Let Your Dog Act Naturally

Expecting your dog to pose perfectly is setting yourself up for disappointment. Ultimately, your dog is going to do what he wants to do. No amount of bribery or frustration on your part will change that.

You may not get a perfectly posed photo, but you'll get an image that captures your dog's personality. That might mean your pup has a silly look on his face or is moving in every photo. Remind yourself that those candid shots are okay.

Shoot From Dog Level

Instead of towering over your dog and expecting him to look up, get down on the ground to take photos at your dog's level. You'll get a more natural look. Your pup may also be more cooperative because it's a more comfortable position.

If you don't feel comfortable getting down on the ground, consider elevating your pet. You might have him jump up on a sofa or another higher location. Choose something that's stable and safe for your dog to stand on and that brings him to your level.

Use Attention-Grabbers

If you're hoping to have your dog look at the camera, you may need to use a little motivation to get his attention. A squeaky toy or another favorite object should do the trick. Using treats can also work to get him to look at the camera.

It's easiest if you have a photography assistant to squeak the toy. That way you can focus on the camera and make sure the shot is what you want.

Vary the Shots

Take a mix of close-up and full-body shots. You may set out to get the perfect full-body shot from a distance but end up loving a close-up shot better. 

You don't have to get your dog's full face in the shot. A close-up of just his eyes or nose can be a creative option for your photo collection. Focus on the features that make your dog unique or that you love best about him. 

Try different angles or each of the shots. Instead of always shooting head-on, try taking photos from different angles or from above, below, or behind your pup. Those different angles can produce creative, artistic shots. 

Take Lots of Pictures

You're hoping for the perfect shot of your dog, but you'll probably have to take multiple pictures to find it. Don't be shy about snapping loads of pictures. With digital photography, you can easily delete the photos that don't make the cut.

Don't focus too much on how good the photos are at the time. Snap the photos and go back afterward to pick the best ones. You can always try your photoshoot again if you don't love any of the shots.

Turn the Photos Into Keepsakes

So what do you do once you nail the perfect shot of your pup? You turn it into the perfect keepsake for yourself. 

All you need is a photo to put your pup's face on a custom blanket. Or personalize your coffee drinks, bathroom, laptop, and more with custom accessories bearing your dog's likeness.

Take the Perfect Picture of a Dog

Getting the perfect picture of a dog takes a little practice and some sneaky strategies. No matter how your photoshoot goes, enjoy the time with your pooch and treasure the memories you capture on film. 

Learn more about how to turn your pet photos into one of our many customized product options. 

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