10 Tips and Tricks for Dog Photography

Source: Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

We can’t help but fawn over man’s best friend.  People make fur-endships all the time. Every dog owner has a special bond with their pets. Each dog is unique with its own personalities and preferences. It’s not a surprise that you’ll want to preserve the memory of them and the moments you spend with them through pictures. Dog photography is a crowd favourite. You may even find yourself sharing their photos with friends, family, and even strangers online. Many popular profiles and viral posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok involve these furry angels. To many people, dog content is comforting and entertaining. There is a steady and growing demand for dog photography.

Taking the photos, however, is a different ballgame altogether. Dog photography is not for the impatient. While  dog photography does require considerable technical expertise,and a certain level of care and creativity, you  can certainly bring life into the photos in no time!

While we can’t take the photos for you, here are 10 tips and tricks to aid you in taking better photographs of your dogs:

#1 Go outside

If your dogs are not quite used to flashes of light, it might be time to consider going outside. Natural light is a gentle and effective approach in capturing images of your fur friends. Compared to being in a studio packed with artificial bright lights, your dogs would feel more comfortable being outdoors.

 The best time to go outside would be when the skies are a tad cloudy because you will have more evenly diffused lighting, contrary to a sunshine-filled day. If you find yourself on a brilliant, sunny day, however, do not fret. You can try searching for shade and dabble around with shadow effects.

#2 Find a scenic landscape

Your dog’sbackground matters. Everybody loves a picture with a story. Find and gather different elements that could help you tell a rich and vibrant story. More than this, landscapes help emphasize the subject and establish a clear setting for your viewers. If you don’t know what you're looking for, you can begin by looking out for complimentary colours. A typical example would be a patch of flowers or a trail of trees.

Be wary of using backgrounds that command too much attention. We don’t want the spotlight being taken from your precious pup.

#3 When indoors, shoot near a window

Lighting makes all the difference, especially in predicting the overall mood and atmosphere of your photos. Certainly consider having your dogs pose near windows to get natural light. It is best to know how to take advantage of your source of light. Light can be manipulated using diffusers (i.e. softboxes and umbrellas) and photography reflectors.

#4 DIY Backgrounds

If your dogs are more comfortable being at home, but you don’t think the clutter bodes well with the camera, try using different fabrics you already have tucked inside your closet. There are no strict rules when it comes to creating your own vibrant backdrop, so it would be a swell choice to experiment here and there. Choose whichever you believe your pups shine best.

Pro tip: make sure to have contrast between your dogs’ fur coat and the backgrounds you use. A black Pomeranian against a black carpet can really just look like another set of eyes from Poltergeist.

#5 Have their favourite toy on hand

When in doubt, retrieve your emergency squeaky toy to grab your dogs’ attention. To better take advantage of the moment, get ready by changing your camera settings to a faster shutter speed. If you are using your phone to take photographs, you can use Burst Mode to make sure that you get to capture their whole range of movement.

#6 Have a treat prepared

If your dog needs a little extra push—perhaps a ransom for a dose of motivation—you can bring some treats with you when shooting outdoors. You never know when it might come in handy. Your dogs might ease up quicker or cooperate better when they see that they are being rewarded for their modelling.

#7 Get crouching and crawling

For a wider variety of angles for your pictures, why not consider scooting down? You can either take a seat or lay flat on the ground. Doing so allows you to capture images from a different point of view. It might feel like a yoga session or a low-intensity interval training, but the pictures (and the extra calories burned) will have been worth it!

#8 Anticipate action

Dogs are naturally playful. They absolutely love going crazy and running around, so motion blur becomes quite the challenge for dog photographers. Since there is a risk of motion blur, as a dog photographer, you should condition yourself to the idea of not having sharp images in an instant.

And what better way to complement action than by using an action camera. Action cameras provide high-grade stabilization, durability, and portability. They are suitable for use on your pets and are also good for other activities that have action.

Fast lenses with 70-80mm should let you keep up with your active pups. Meanwhile, a setting speed of 1/1000 should also be enough to capture their runs and bops.

#9 Switch up the saturation

Looking brilliant and vibrant is one of the best pieces of advice to give in dog photography. When increasing saturation levels, the rule of thumb is anywhere between 5 to 25. On the other hand, if you prefer a more muted effect for your photos, do the opposite. Decrease the saturation levels. This also works for instances when you want to tone down a distracting colour in the background.

#10 Polish your photos

You can opt to use software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom to enhance your digital photographs. We recommend not skipping the whole post-processing routine, even if your photos are already well-lit. There is a ton of other edits that could still be made. The programs allow you to change the colour balance, temperature, and tone, among others.

Venturing into dog photography is a fun experience for both you and your fur friends. On your next fur-tography session, keep in mind to follow these 10 simple tips and tricks to create memorable photos and boundless amusement.