How to take great dog photos

How to take great dog photos

Wish you could get some great photos of your dog? If you’re like most of us, they typically turn out like these, and camera phones haven’t improved things one bit:

These pictures break ALL the rules of good photography: they're taken from overhead; the dog is looking away; dog is too small; too close. The worst!

These pictures break ALL the rules of good photography: they’re taken from overhead; the dog is looking away; dog is too small; too close. The worst!

OK these are particularly bad specimens. But I’m sure we’d all prefer something like this instead:

So how to get those great shots?

Timing

Your dog will be more alert and receptive just before mealtime.  Start off with a treat or two before the photo session begins.  Toss a treat to the spot where you’d like your dog to be for the photo.  It should be about 6 to 8 feet away (2 to 3 meters)  Not too close but not too far either.

Have your camera ready – on, flash on if needed and already focused on the spot where you intend to take the picture. Make a funny little noise, whistle or call his name just before you take the pic. Be ready and then go!

Go eye-to-eye with your dog

Yorkshire terrier sits and looking to you isolated on white background

Yorkshire terrier sits and looking to you isolated on white background

You must get down to the same position as your dog’s eyes; or pose your dog (carefully) on a tabletop or other high surface.

Although there can be circumstances when you shoot from above, the best pictures are at the dog’s eye level.

Avoid Flash if Possible

morkie-puppies-bailey-44896

It’s almost impossible to avoid this demon-dog look if you use a camera with a flash.

If you can, avoid having to use a flash. Almost all dogs get the demon-possessed red eyes with flashes.  Check and see if your camera has a ‘red eye’ setting – it can help.  Don’t point the flash directly at the dog’s face; try to bounce it off the ceiling. Other than that, your best solution is photoshop, gimp, iPhoto or however you edit your pix. Try natural light of outside – but not direct sunlight – colours will be washed out.  Never shoot with the sun behind your dog: you’ll get something like this:

Posing, clothes, new people

thumb_puppies_need_toys_1024If you’re trying to take a pic of your pooch in a new outfit, or in a particular pose you’re not going to have a good time.  Dogs aren’t big on photo opps.  Let your dog be himself and catch him having fun.

If your dog IS used to wearing clothes or posing, then you can get some good shots like this one.

Background should enhance not distract

Use simple, colourful backgrounds – ideally a blanket or sheet that’s just one colour. No patterns.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Or an outside scene that’s beautiful Natural habitat works best as you can see in these two shots:

bella-in-jeans

In Summary

  1. Catch your dog just before a meal; he’ll be more alert. Use treats to get his attention.
  2. Before you start, make sure your camera’s ready to go.
  3. Get down to the dog’s level, or pose your dog on a high surface.
  4. Avoid flash shots; use existing interior light or go outside.
  5. Keep backgrounds simple and plain.
  6. Go outside for a great photo.

 

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)