Tips for Shooting Amazing Photos of Your Dog
Nothing has become more popular than sharing pictures of your dogs on instagram and other social media outlets. Some of the most popular instagram accounts belong to dogs! Jiffpom has a cool 2 million followers, while Marniethedog has just under 1.9 million followers. These dogs have become so well known that they often brush elbows (or paws) with famous celebrities! Jiffpom even has a whole collection of merchandise and apparel for his followers to buy. Sure, a SUPER cute dog will bring in followers but the attraction is also in the way you capture your dog. You don’t need a really expensive camera to take great photos. Yes, a DSLR camera will increase the quality of your photos but not everyone has the money to lug a camera like that around. Amateur photographers all over the world are taking impressive pictures with their phones, which now can have 16 megapixel cameras!
Whether you are using a DSLR camera or your phone, we have a few tips to help you capture pictures of your dog that you will love!
1. Our first tip is take pictures in great lighting. Don’t take pictures of your dog at night or in dim lighting with a flash. A flash will give your dog green alien eyes (not very cute!). The “golden” hour applies to dogs as well as humans. The golden hour is the first hour after sunrise and the first hour after sunset. The sun isn’t blinding and it doesn’t cast shadows. It simply lights up the sky with a soft golden glow – perfect for outdoor photos!
2. Our next tip is to let your dog do his thing. Staged photos can be fun but who doesn’t love a candid shot? Much like candid shots at a wedding or birthday party, candids feel much more natural and unforced. Great action photos of your dog playing at the park or in the snow can lead to unexpected perfection. Funny faces always arise from your dog playing with his favorite toy. Precious moments are often captured when your dog is snoozing on the couch or by the fire.
3. Sometimes staged photos are the only way to get the shot you are looking for. If this is the case, see if you can get someone to help you out with the photos. While you take the pictures, your helper can keep your dog on track or eliminate potential distractions.
4. Get up close and personal. Don’t invade your dog’s space if he doesn’t seem into the impromptu photo shoot. But, if you think you can get some photos interacting with your dog then go for it! Some of the cutest pictures are those with your dog giving you sweet kisses on the cheek or cuddling up with you on the couch.
5. Back away. Sometimes what you are looking to capture is best done from a distance. In this case you will want to use a camera with a good zoom lens. A zoom lens can allow you to capture the details you love about your dog without triggering him to turn his head away. We know dogs have some of the prettiest eyes, especially huskies and aussies, and we love to see them! But, if you try to get close with your camera phone it may cause your dog to blink or look away.
6. Plan ahead. If you are looking to capture a specific scene, it will be best for you to plan ahead. Planning ahead can save you time and help you take the picture at the right moment. Every Christmas, families gather together to take pictures for their annual holiday card. Well, the family Christmas card has to include ALL of your family members, right? That includes the dog! Take a look around and plan to take the picture in a location where your dog won’t get distracted or have the desire to run off. Jot down a couple poses that will work for you, your family members, and your dog. Be sure to bring treats to reward your dog for staying in position.
7. Step outside of your comfort zone. That’s what being a photographer is all about! Get down on the ground. See what your dog sees. Changing the way you see things can lead to the perfect picture! Don’t be afraid to take pictures that you can just delete later. The worst picture is the one not taken.
8. After you think you have captured the best shot, experiment with filters. Filters are THE thing to do on instagram. Sometimes a picture can give a totally different feel just by switching it to black and white. We like the “inkwell” filter on instagram for black and white photos. You can also try increasing the saturation to magnify how blue your dog’s eyes are or how green the grass is that they are rolling around on.
No photographer should ever take themselves too seriously. Don’t be afraid to try new things and have fun! Just think of your dog while you click away. Dogs have no shame, they don’t judge, and they always act themselves. You should too! We bet it will pay off and come through in your photos.
Kim is the co-owner of DogLoverStore with her husband, John. She earned her BS in operations management at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She enjoys walking in nature, gardening in the sun, eating sour candy, going on drives, yoga, and reading.