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How to Take Great Photographs of Your Dog?

At A Glance

Learning how to photograph your dog requires patience and persistence. For the best photos, work around your dog’s daily habits, routine and personality. Bring toys and treats as motivation, and be flexible throughout your photo session.

Last Updated on: Jan 12, 2022

Learning how to photograph your dog can be challenging. Dogs are unpredictable creatures, so taking the perfect picture is going to take practice. Lucky for you, even novice photographers can learn how to take good dog photos. Here are the tips and tricks you need to know.

custom oil-painted dog portraits by Poshtraits

owner taking a picture of his dog

Tips for Beginners

Bring Toys and Treats

If you find yourself working with a dog that is food motivated, bring their favorite treats to your photoshoot. You can use these treats to direct the dog’s gaze towards your camera lens. This will hold your dog’s attention long enough for you to snap a photo.

If your dog enjoys toys more than treats, use the same method with their favorite toy. Toys will also help your dog release their energy when they’re not on camera. This will ensure your dog is calm in front of the camera, and not running laps around your lens.

Much like people, dogs all have their own unique traits and quirks.

Let Them Run Free

Dogs are active animals that love to run and play. When planning your photoshoot, try finding a location that gives them room to roam. This will be especially important when photographing puppies and high-energy dogs.

If you plan on using this method, be sure to bring a camera with a burst setting. This will allow you to take many photos in a short amount of time, increasing your chances of getting that perfect action shot.

Also Read: How to Teach Your Dog to Behave in a Park

an image of a kid and dog

Get Down to Their Level

For portraits, it’s always best to get down to the subject’s level. Photos shot from above are oftentimes less interesting than those shot head-on. If you have a smaller dog, don’t be afraid to get on the ground to get the best shot. For larger dogs, kneeling or crouching should be enough to reach their eye level.

Focusing on the eyes will add interest to your photo and help you truly capture your dog’s personality. Much like people, dogs all have their own unique traits and quirks. These will shine through in portrait-style photos of your dog.

dog sitting on the stairs with the owner

Know Your Dog’s Personality

Take time to consider your dog’s personality and the types of photos you’re trying to capture. If you want to take pictures of your dog sleeping, don’t plan a photo shoot during their most active hours. Don’t try to take action shots during the times when your dog is typically sleeping.

Following your dog’s natural schedule will increase your chances of getting the style of photos you’re looking for. If you’re able to, try scheduling time for photos across multiple days. This way, your dog won’t get tired of the camera. Working around your dog’s schedule will make the process easier for both of you.

Practice Beforehand

If your photography experience is limited, try practicing before you plan to photograph your dog. Go outside and take different types of photos—wide shots, action shots, close-ups, etc. This will give you the chance to get used to the camera before your photoshoot.

It may also be helpful to watch tutorials for the specific camera you plan to use. Having a professional walk you step-by-step through the camera’s functions will familiarize you with your device. Then, you can go into your photoshoot prepared to capture any shot.

dog posing for a picture

Tips for Experts

Consider Your Lighting

Many consider overcast days to be the best for photographing your pet outside. These days provide even lighting, unlike sunny days that often cause harsh areas of light and shade. When planning out your photo session, take the weather into consideration if you’ll be outdoors.

If you’re taking photos indoors, opt for a ring light instead of using your camera’s flash. You’ll be able to create uniform, bright lighting across all of your photos. Using a ring light will also prevent the red-eye that flash often causes.

The time of the day you choose to take these photographs matters as well.

Bring Props

If you feel you’ve mastered how to photograph your dog, take your photo to the next level with props. Wrap your dog in a blanket, place them in a basket or place their favorite toy in the frame. This will create more interesting photos, and be more of a challenge for you to capture on camera.

Adding props to your photos is a great option when taking portraits of your dog. They will make your photos appear more professional, much like those shared on social media. Props can also help make your dog appear more photogenic and are great for family photos as well.

Get Up-Close and Personal

Full-body and mid-range photos are easier to take than those up-close to your dog. Getting closer to your dog will help you capture fine details such as the depth of your pet’s eye color, or their individual hairs.

If you have a long focal lens, you’ll be able to focus on your pet while blurring the background. This will help your pet stand out even more in these close-up photos. If you don’t have this lens, you can also blur the background in post-production using an application like Photoshop.

clicking a photograph

Adjusting the Photo in Post-Processing

The edits you make to your photos are equally as important as capturing the photo itself. Make sure your edits add to your dog’s natural beauty without looking too drastic. This includes adjusting lighting and contrast, enhancing details within the photo, and blurring the background.

Photographing Puppies

Taking photos of puppies is similar to taking photos of full-grown dogs. However, you’ll need to have an extra level of patience behind the camera. Puppies can be running amok one minute and fast asleep the next.

Think of photographing your dog as a chance for you two to bond, have fun and relax.

To get the best photos you should be flexible, have patience, and let your puppy take charge of the photo sessions. If they’re calm, try taking your portrait and up-close photos. When they’re ready to play, switch over to action shots. If your puppy seems agitated or tired, try taking your photos at a different time.

an image of two dogs posing for a photograph

Learning how to photograph your dog requires practice, patience and persistence. Think of photographing your dog as a chance for you two to bond, have fun and relax. Going into the process with a positive mindset and these tips will help you take professional photos of your dog with ease.


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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.