Though it might look simple taking a picture of your dog, there are many components that go into a perfect shot. We have all been there; You try to get a picture, but your dog either decides to chase after another pup or comes trotting to lick your camera.
Having taken thousands of pictures myself, I’ve gathered my top tips in helping you get an Insta-worthy photo. These tips apply to both phone cameras and professional DSLR cameras. So no matter your photography level, there is much to learn about pet photography.
1. Get down to their level
If you scroll through your phone, it's likely you'd come across a picture of your dog taken from your natural eye level looking down. It’s a common mistake beginners make in which they will stand and photograph downwards. However what you will see is that by photographing at a dog’s eye level, it will create a dog’s perspective that looks more emotional and balanced.
How do you do this? Try bending down or even (if you're not scared to get a little dirty) lay down on the ground and point the camera straight towards your subject. Your dog’s eyes should be at the same angle or even higher than your lens. If the picture looks awkward at that angle, try taking a couple at different heights but never go higher than your dog’s head. This way you will likely get a more intimate looking picture that displays a clear focus on your pet.
2. Burst your shots
Dogs especially love doing zoomies whenever they get a chance to. It’s difficult getting a perfect and clear shot when your pets are moving cause not like humans they aren’t as cooperative for pictures. Instead it's up to you. From experience, It takes roughly a few hundred pictures just to find a good one to keep. Either they are blinking or swaying their heads, it's hard to take the photo at a specific moment when they react so fast. So try bursting your pictures to never miss a second. You never know when the perfect shot is coming.
If you don’t know how to burst a picture on the phone try either holding the photo button down for as long as you’d want to burst or drag the photo button to the left to do the same. On a DSLR camera first ensure that your model allows for the function. Often the way to burst a picture on a DSLR is to hold the shutter release button down in a similar manner as you do with your phone.
3. Make weird sounds
Have you maybe seen people in public making all sorts of weird sounds to get their dogs to look at the camera? It looks very odd but it is a super easy and efficient way to focus your dog’s attention.
Try making a bunch of odd sounds that are unfamiliar to your dog. Usually a buzzing sound intrigues dogs as well as round vowel sounds. If it doesn’t work initially try raising and lowering your pitch of the sounds. You can even try barking if that works to get the attention of your pup.
4. Limit image distractions
The last thing you want is for a building to stick out of your dog’s head. The image may look perfect but such a distraction could easily ruin the balance of the picture.
In busy areas, position your backdrop so that no distracting subject is in the image or straight behind the subject. For example if there are many buildings behind your dog, try positioning your camera so that your dog’s head would not fall on any contrasting lines of the background. You can move your dog back and forth or easily move your own position by changing the angles and vantage points of your camera.
5.Try different Vantage Points
A good shot doesn’t always have to be a front-facing view of your dog’s face and body. There are thousands of examples of pictures of a dog’s side profile, a dog’s eyes or even their paws from below.
It’s always a good idea to experiment with your vantage point of your subject. Try taking a shot of your pup staring sideways or backwards. Or you can try focusing on one part of their bodies such as their eyes, nose etcetera. These shots create a unique view of your pet that often looks intriguing to the human eye.
6. Tricks and Treats
Does your dog know any special tricks such as “sitting pretty”, “bowing” or even a “paw shake”? All of these gestures are perfect for photos. These tricks definitely display your dog’s personality along with their intelligence. Make sure to have some treats handy when taking pictures, especially of tricks. It’s important to reward your dog for cooperating with photos and simply for being a good boy/girl.
Here’s a couple fun but easy tricks to photograph. If your dog already knows how to shake their paws or high five, try taking a shot of a human doing the trick with them. If they don't already know a good alternative is to hold your pup’s hand as though they are shaking it. Remember to never force a photo on your dog and keep your sessions fun for you and your dog.
7. Show off their pawsonality
There’s nothing better than a photo that really speaks to your dog’s personality. Whether it is an odd quirk or a genuine smile, these photos brighten up your day immensely. Sometimes the best pictures are taken organically.
While on a walk or any other usual activity, try taking a quick shot of your dog in the moment. These photos usually come out more natural and show off your pup’s own personality. There is no need to force your dog to look a certain way for a picture instead simply taking one of your dog’s natural behaviour results in more intimate images.
Otherwise, have some fun, and keep an eye out for the next Buddy Bites photoshoot!!