Tag Archives: dog pictures

Take Great Pictures of Your Dog – 3 Top Tips

Lots of pictures get taken this time of year. Everybody wants a record of celebrations with all your people and dogs. Taking pictures of people is easier – all you have to do is get their attention and say “Smile!” Dogs are a little tougher. If you call their name, chances are they’ll run up to you and you’ll get a blurry picture featuring your dog’s nose in your face! So how do you take great pictures of your dog?

Tip #1: Get on their level

Looking down at your dog is probably how you see them most of the time. But aren’t your favorite pictures the ones where your dog’s up on the couch, snuggling next to you, and his/her eyes are centered and level? Try it when your dog’s on the floor, too. Get down at your dog’s eye level and see the difference it makes. One of the big differences you’ll notice is being able to see your dog’s entire self in proper perspective. Wrong angle/perspective is one reason many dog pictures aren’t as cute as the dogs themselves. You can change that!

Picture of a male French Bulldog sitting to illustrate take great pictures of your dog

One caution – especially for owners of boy dogs. Especially if your boy is short-furred and sitting, the most prominent feature may not be his face. To avoid calling attention to his assets, move slightly to the side and position your picture so a front leg is blocking. Most of our dogs have been boys, and it’s become a habit for us. Glancing through the product pages in our shop, you’ll get the idea. We really like this example of Teddy in the Wrap-N-Go

Tip #2: Keep on shooting

Lots of times the most interesting pictures are the ones that happen after you’ve gotten the post you want. If you have a setting for shooting multiple pictures at once, called “burst shooting.” It’s often used for taking pictures at sporting events, but capturing a great picture of your dog can be a sport by itself. And if you have more than one dog, it’s absolutely essential – and fun! You can always delete the pictures that aren’t great, but you’ll find some that will make you smile, even if they weren’t intended. If your dog is trained to “Stay!” – keep shooting when you release them from the command. Often the first step or two includes a priceless smile.

Tip #3: Look at everything in the frame

How many times have you regretted an almost-great picture, if only there weren’t a lamp coming out of someone’s head? Just take a glance, through your lens, around the perimeter of your subject. Sometimes moving just a few inches to one side or the other can make all the difference. It doesn’t have to be a boring white wall. It just shouldn’t have random objects emerging from your dog’s head, or ears, or tail!

The best tip of all is to take lots of pictures throughout your dog’s life. We never seem to have enough puppy pictures. Or mature pictures, for that matter. Looking at your dogs will always make you happy!

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How to take great dog pictures

We take many, many pictures of dogs. Our own dogs, our customers’ dogs, our students’ dogs. It took a while to develop a technique to take great dog pictures, but anyone can do it. We’re sharing our best tips so your holiday pictures – of your entire family – come out great!

These tips work for people as well as dogs. The advantage is that people will actually understand, and hopefully listen, when you say “3, 2, 1, Smile!” Unless you have a passel of little kids running around who aren’t going to listen any better than dogs. Then take these tips to heart!

Tip #1

Keep hitting that shutter button! For those of us old enough to remember taking pictures on film – times have changed! It doesn’t cost anything to take lots more pictures than you have any use for. The only bad part is spending the time to go through them and delete the ones you really don’t want. There’s no excuse, with digital photography, for not taking a ton of pictures. The best ones often turn out to be the chaotic candids as you’re either preparing to shoot, or think you’re done!

Tip #2

Set up your picture before you get your dog. If your dog doesn’t have a rock-solid “Stay!” command, he’s going to get bored and wander off before you’re ready to shoot. And while the picture of your dog yawning is adorable to you, it may not be the adorable portrait you want to frame or post on social media. Check the lighting and figure out exactly where you want your dog to pose. Use a stand-in for your dog while you’re setting up – even a bowl or a cushion can work as a substitute for your dog until you’re ready.

Tip #3

Pay attention to everything around the main subject of the picture. Are there lamps that will look like they’re coming out of your dog’s head? Or is that couch in the background the same color as your dog so you won’t even see him/her? You can use a blanket or throw in a contrasting color to make sure your dog looks great. If you have a dark-colored dog like Hope’s Torque, you know how difficult it is to get good portraits of your dog’s cute little face. Make it easier by posing your dog on a light-colored material and flooding the area with light. Indirect light is best for avoiding shadows. The best days to take pictures outside are cloudy. We may all love bright sunshine, but the shadows can ruin your pictures.

Tip #4

Get down! Take pictures at your dog’s face level. Think about all your favorite pictures of your dog. We always ask to see pictures of our customers’ dogs and, invariably, their favorites, the ones they have as their home pictures on their phones, are of their dogs full face, straight on. Or with that darling head tilt that dogs do. So get down there! And look at the area again from that perspective. Check again for random objects. 

example of dog sitting for a great picture

A note for people with male dogs: Taking pictures from your dog’s level, especially if he’s sitting, puts his “boy bits” not-quite-front, but definitely center of the action. No one wants to see that. The simple fix is to move the camera at a slight angle – use your dog’s front legs to hide his “junk.” Much better!

Tip #5

Have a helper. When you’re all set up and ready to go, it’s much easier if you have someone else around to help get your dog’s attention where you want it (squeaky toy!) and reward them with treats while you’re still shooting. You’ll probably get some pictures of your helper’s butt, or hand, but those are easily discarded. If no one else is available, you can do it yourself. Put on your dog’s collar and leash and hide the leash behind the dog (so it’s not in the picture). You can weigh it down with something heavy, or put the handle around a chair or table leg. It’ll take a little longer, and you’ll have to stop and reward your dog more often, but it will work.

Tip #6

Be patient. They’re dogs. Some pose for the camera. Others run the other way. Keep your sessions with the dog short and be willing to give it up if it’s not working. You can try again another time. Your dog will be just as cute then!

Shoot the dogs


Teddy helping Hope with a product photo shoot.

Here at the shop we like to use our own pictures for all of our products – that way we know how things fit, know what they look and feel like, etc. We’ve even been known to taste the dog treats ourselves – just so we know.

Our setup isn’t very fancy. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty primitive. We finally did get some lights to use while we’re shooting, although we prefer natural daylight, it’s not always possible, especially on gloomy days.

And of course we use our own dogs for models. Teddy’s a pro – he’s been at it since he was a little baby boy. Booker’s getting pretty darn good at it, too. Tango and Torque? Problematic. Taking pictures of black dogs is never easy and, despite years of practice, we still have some difficulties.

teddy_peekingOne thing we’ve learned is to shoot lots and lots and lots of pictures. With flash, without flash, in just about every mode we can think of. And still we may, or may not, come up with a picture that shows the product and the puppy properly.

So if you see lots of Booker and Teddy on our site – you’ll know why. It’s not that they’re the favorite sons – it’s that their coloring allows us to get good pictures!