How to get great photos of your dog - every time!
It can be really hard to try and take good photos of your dog, whether you’re using a phone camera, a point and shoot or a pro camera. All too often, you can't get your dog to pose right, or he moves just at the wrong moment and you end up with a blurry mess.
That's why we've teamed up with dog photography expert Sandie Powner from Sandie Powner Photography to share her top tips to make sure you get GREAT photos EVERY TIME!
1. BE AWARE OF YOUR BACKGROUND
One of the easiest things you can do to improve your photos is to take care about what’s in the background when you’re getting ready to take your shot. Little things like making sure there isn’t a doggy waste bin in the background, or checking there isn’t a big stick coming out of the top of your dog’s head, can make a huge difference between an image looking ok and an image looking great!
These two shots of Dave were taken with my iPhone, and are good examples of the kind of image you might take on a day to day basis. The one on the left has lots of distraction – including Charlie doing a bit of photobombing!
The shot on the right is not perfect, but it’s better. It’s out in the garden, so there’s some nice foliage to create a reasonably good background. I could have positioned myself or Dave a little better to miss out the shed & garden table on the left, but overall it’s much less distracting than the first image.
Don’t forget this is real life – sometimes you just won’t get rid of all the distractions, but moving yourself or your dog into a position to minimise them will always create a better image.
2.GET DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL
As a dog photographer, I spend a lot of time kneeling or laying down! This is because it’s the BEST way to get photos of your dog.
When you take photos from an upright position, you’ll normally be looking down on your dog which can have a comical effect as his head will appear much bigger than his body. Getting down on the ground means you’re photographing your dog at his level, so he’ll be in proportion – and this makes for a much more pleasing photo.
Just look at these two photos of Charlie – one from above and one from his level. Which do you think looks better?
3. MAKE THEM CURIOUS
Getting your dog’s attention is a key technique to getting better photographs. It can be easier if you have someone to assist you, particularly if your dog doesn’t have a great sit/stay.
Here’s what to do:
- Make sure your camera is ready to go
- Lure your dog into position using a toy or treat, and ask them to stay. If they don’t have a great stay, ask someone else to lure them while you keep the camera ready
- Make an unusual noise or squeak a toy – your dog will hopefully look straight at you as you click the button to take your shot!
Sometimes a split second is all you have – this shot of Jess was taken when I made a noise she hadn’t heard before, and it was the only time she did this head-tilt in her entire photoshoot!
4. LOOK FOR DETAILS
If you want to get a little bit arty, try thinking outside the box when it comes to your dog. What are the things you’d immediately associate with him? Perhaps the way he raises a paw as he asks for a treat? His cold wet nose? Or perhaps he has a striking coat or markings? A favourite toy?
Taking photos of specific details or features of your dog can work together beautifully as a piece of art.
To make this triptych I edited each photo individually in an app called Snapseed first (it’s great for editing iPhone shots!) Then I transferred the photos to my computer and used Blogstomp to create the three-image panel.
This really sums Charlie up – he’ll often come and flick your hand with his nose when he wants some fuss, he sits with his paw up on you when he wants something, and of course his favourite toy is his ball!
5. BE DIFFERENT
How many times do you scroll through your social media and see photo after photo of dogs sitting in the same position? Don’t be afraid to be different and make your photos stand out!
Here are five quick ideas:
- Head out in the evening and try some sunset silhouettes
- Try posing your dog in and on new things while out on your walks, such as logs, bridges or tree trunks. Always make sure your dog is safe and happy to stand in/on whatever you’re using
- For some light-hearted shots, try throwing treats and photographing your dog catching them, or putting a little peanut butter on his nose and snap your shot as he licks it off (please make sure your peanut butter doesn’t contain xylitol which is poisonous to dogs)
- Check out the outtakes – sometimes the funny photos of your dog where shots don’t quite work out are great to share as memes
- Use props – these are a great way to be different and create a story with your image.
Here’s an image from a photo shoot with Alfie the cocker spaniel where I used props – he’d never worn a hat before taking this photo. I asked his human if she thought he would wear one, and she said “let’s give it a try”. As you can see he was a complete pro!
About Sandie Powner Photography
Sandie is a specialist dog photographer and will help you capture those special memories with your four-legged friend to keep strong and close forever. It's so easy today to think that the snaps you take on your iPhone are enough - and it's not until you can't take any more that you realise how important it is to capture those moments forever in the best possible way. Her Pawfect Moments Experience is tailored to make sure you capture the unique character and adorable personality of your beloved fur-baby forever.
Sandie is based in Market Harborough, Leicestershire but is happy to travel for clients who live further away. Contact her on 07930 337914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Sandie offers a free download for photo tips which you can get by signing up to her mailing list here.