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10 Tips from Expert Pet Photographers

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Like everyone of you, I am obsessed about taking good looking pictures of my dogs to post them on my Instagram or Facebook pages… I swear my phone is nothing more than a portable photo album of my pooches. This is why I have here 10 tips from expert pet photographers for you.

10 Tips from Expert Pet Photographers

Not only do I feel the need to scroll down my camera roll and show off my dogs to just about everyone I meet, I also have an entire Instagram page to show off my furry kids.

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But… while any snapshot of a canine or feline cutie is awe-worthy, there are some tricks that can transform your dog photography from ordinary to extraordinary.

I struggled a lot pinning up and down and following Instagram influencers on the matter and I decided to contact a friend of mine, Ana, professional photographer, that has had the kindness to answer some of my questions about improving dog photography also without being a pro.

1. What are the biggest challenges you run into when photographing dogs?

A. Movement! Dogs tend to be high-energy subjects. I always suggest a nice long walk, run, or game fetch before bringing dog along to a session. This helps tire them out and relax a bit.

2. Do you have some tricks to make a dog comfortable in front of the camera?

A. Treats and toys! I like to hold a toy or treat in my hand just above the camera to create the illusion they’re looking into my lens. Treats are also the perfect reward for their cooperation. Don’t forget to bring along some water too. Modeling is exhausting for people and pooches alike, it’s important to stay hydrated.

3. What if you’re working with a dog that isn’t so well trained?

A. This is a great opportunity to get creative! When working with a dog that doesn’t know a lot (or any) command yet, the best approach is to just go with the flow and be patient. Dogs are naturally adorable. Even if you can get them to hold a specific pose, they’re bound to do something cute all on their own. You just have to be willing to wait for that moment of authentic cuteness to present itself and be ready to click the shutter.

🐶 NOTE FOR MY READERS: I had a similar experience while organizing a photoshooting in a local shelter here. The idea was to shoot pics to adoptable furry friends, and it ended up being a documentary on life in shelters. Some of the chosen models were totally uncooperative and the people there weren't able to face the job. So I did it all myself, enjoying playing with them and simply shooting. Will post here the Gallery album very soon.

4. What are some really cool angles for people to try when photographing their dog?

A. It’s always fun to get down on their level and kind of share their perspective. Also, zooming in is a great way to be creative. Crop (zoom) in on their most adorable features like their nose, eyes, ears, paws – those make for super cute detail shots (de-TAIL 😝).

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5. Do you like to use props in your photos? If so, what are some visually engaging ideas?

A. If your dog has a toy that he absolutely loves above any other toy, let him carry it for a few shots. Even if it’s torn and covered in slobber, they’ll be SO happy to have it and it will translate into photos.

6. What are some fun & unique locations to have a dog photoshoot?

A. The best/most comfortable locations are parks, open fields, or right in your own home or yard. Parks and fields offer a lot of space for dogs to explore and objects to interact with. On the other hand, they’re most comfortable right in their home. Someplace unique and fun would be a lake or beach if they like water, a dog park if they’re especially social, or anyplace that makes their head tilt to the side in excitement when you say them “Wanna go to….?!

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7. How do you take an extreme closeup of your dog (because every whiskers on his face is so cute)?

A. I recommend zooming in rather then getting physically close. Creating some space between myself and the dog gives me a chance to snap a few frames before they notice what I’m doing and come investingate the situation! Once they start to approach me, I shoot many rapid frames so I don’t miss a second of their curiosity.

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8. What are some tips to capture a great action shot?

A. If you have a camera that allows you to control your shutter speed then shooting at a high (fast) shutter speed is the best way to freeze actions. I’d start at 1/250 of a second. If you’re using a camera phone then taking a burst of frames by holding down the shutter button can really come in handy to capture movement.

9. What type of lighting is best for dog photography?

A. My favorite time to shoot is during the two hours before sunset. That’s when the sun is nice and low and casts a golden glow. No matter what time of day, open shade is always a safe bet for nice even light.

10. Can someone take professional-looking shots of their dogs with a smartphone?

A. Yes! Smartphones take lovely photos these days. Lighting is the element that really makes or breaks a photo. Light quality means camera quality.

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Veterinary Surgeon, Labrador Breeder and passionate pet photographer. Blogger for hobby in spare time. I like everything regarding nature and its shapes.

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