Have you ever wondered what your dog would look like in a photograph? Or do you struggle to capture the perfect picture of your dog? If you fall into any of the above categories, this article got you covered.
Dogs are one of nature’s greatest gifts to humanity. It is no wonder they’re referred to as man’s best friend. However, like with a friend or a beloved family member, you might want to take a cute photo of your dog which is not as easy as it sounds.
Dogs are not like humans; they’re easily distracted which is why you might require a few tricks to help you capture the perfect dog portrait.
It is not really about the camera or equipment used for the photograph and more about the person behind the camera and what they’re able to achieve with it. Not to downplay the importance of a good camera, but factors like perspective, surroundings, and mood are way more important than any expensive photo equipment. This is why this article will not be focusing directly on technique.
Today we would like to give you a few tips to help you on your journey from a simple snapshot to a real dog photo with emotion.
Shortcut To Useful Tips
1. Make Sure there are Snacks Available
You can probably persuade your dog to do just about anything if you have the right snack. My dog Rocky loves his favorite snacks so much that he’ll do anything to have them. I know this for sure because he’ll do anything to get them. To make this even more effective you can get snacks that your dog doesn’t have everyday access to. This will make it easier for him to follow certain commands that he might otherwise ignore.
Dogs are like kids; bribery certainly works with them.
2. Perfect your Timing
For regular photography, shooting time is heavily influenced by weather and light conditions. However, things are not quite the same for pet photography which requires more planning. Apart from the above, you’ll also have to consider your pet’s routine and requirements.
The mood changes of your subjects could affect the pictures you want to capture, so you need to be sure to capture them at the right time. The best time to capture your dog’s smile is when they’re exhausted so you might want to play with them or take them for a walk before shooting if the dog’s smile is the primary focus of your shoot.
3. Get Proper Lighting
Lighting is undeniably one of the core foundations of photography. Natural light is the best light for pet pictures. In this case, it is highly recommended that you take your session outside or within close proximity of a large window if you are taking it indoors. Pet photography is not as straightforward as human photography where you can always use your lighting setup to compensate for the absence of natural light.
Do not, I repeat, do not use flash when photographing your dog. Animals are sensitive to flash which can easily startle them and ruin the shot or hurt them. Steady lighting setups are preferable with the help of camera accessories like reflectors which can soften the photo shoot.
4. Patience is a Virtue
You require an abundance of patience for animal photography in general. Pets cannot exactly follow specific instructions unlike humans, so you will have to be patient if you want to get them to do what you want.
No matter how well-trained your dog or pet is, there is no guarantee that it will smile or follow your command at will. So, what do you do to achieve your desired expression? You wait patiently until you get it!
5. Put in the Work
Nothing good comes easy, and animal photography is no different. The more you photograph your pets, the better you become. Photography skills are not the only skills you require to take pictures of your dog, you will also need to devote some time to the animals. Spend time with them without a camera as this will give you a better understanding of their mannerisms and body language. A detail as tiny as the meaning behind a dog’s wagging tail might be the difference between a great pet photo and an ordinary one.
6. Focus on the Angles and Perspectives
To achieve great things, you must be willing to explore new ideas. This also applies to animal photography. Rather than focusing on their eyes, it is advisable to pay more attention to certain details. Be on the lookout for contrasts and textures. Experiment with different lenses to see their effect on the compositions. These diversifying shots can help improve your photography style while keeping your session fun and engaging.
This is probably Rocky’s favorite part of his photo sessions because he is always very eager to move and hop around which also makes it fun for me.
7. Eliminate Possible Distractions
Animals are easily distracted; it’s no one’s fault, just part of their nature. I know it is impossible to eliminate every form of distraction, but it can be reduced to the barest minimum. To avoid unnecessary distractions, you can locate your photo shoot at a secluded location, away from everything that might cause distraction. When it comes to animals, anything can be a distraction, even your camera. This is why it is always advisable to move slowly when capturing them unless your intention is for them to look in your direction.
8. Make Use of Props
There’s no denying that props add a certain cuteness to pet photography. The props can be anything, from an adorable bow for your pup, to a cute hat to pop up the photograph. It’s not just about the cuteness factor when it comes to props. Certain props also make your pet feel more comfortable and safer during the photo shoot.
Make sure their favorite toy is within touching distance. There’s no need to force the props on them, however, to avoid causing injury to them and inadvertently ending the photoshoot. In all these, just find the perfect balance.
9. Make the Session Interactive
Considering pets aren’t humans, it’s not like they understand what you’re doing when you point your camera at them. This is why you might want to play with them or pet them a little before starting the photo shoot.
This is also a great way to gain their trust especially if you’re photographing other people’s pets. Dogs are always up for fun times so this is an easy part of your job. This means you get to have fun while on the job.
I hope these tips help you perfect the act of taking fun photos of your pup. It takes me no prompting for my dog to sit down at our photography spot since he has become accustomed to the camera. That is how much he enjoys the rewards that come with it.
With dogs, it is often about how much fun they’re having, so make your sessions fun and you’ll be amazed at the result.
Read also: Diving capability of dogs!