We all love our dogs. Sometimes, they’re more like our children than our pets.
You give them bubble baths, take them for regular hair cuts and doctor’s appointments, and make sure they get quality nutrition every day.
And, if you’re anything like me, you love to take good pictures of your dog!
But as cute as he is, your favorite furry friend is no model. His camera skills could use a lot of work.
Here are 10 tips you can use to take good pictures of your dog, whether you’re displaying them in your house or your Instagram feed.
1. Get Acquainted
It’s very likely that you’re using your smartphone to take pictures (you know, like you always do). If this is the case, your dog is probably used to seeing it and won’t take notice.
But if you’re using a camera (or just have a really curious canine), take some time to let your dog get comfortable with it first. Set your camera on the ground so they can smell it and offer them plenty of healthy treats to create a positive association.
If they’re still skittish, leave it out for a few hours (or days) so they see it as just another object. Snap a few “throw away” pics (or just pretend to take them); after a while, it won’t be as interesting to them.
2. Pick The Perfect Time
There’s no use in trying to take some action shots when your dog is sluggish or snapping some snuggly selfies when she’s ready to play.
Schedule your photo shoot during a time when your dog is primed for it. If you want candid action shots, pick a time when they’re feeling playful. If you’re looking for a more posed portrait, tire them out with a long walk or round of fetch first.
Alternatively, simply go with the flow and take pictures in whatever mood your dog is currently in.
3. Select A Simple Background
Nothing says “amateur photographer” more than a picture with lots of visual clutter.
Pick a simple background that contrasts with your dog’s coat to make them stand out more. For indoor photos, a blank wall or solid-color blanket can work well.
If you don’t have the equipment (or time), crop out the background so your dog is the main focus.
4. Attract Their Attention
Candid shots are great, but sometimes, you want those puppy-dog eyes to look at the camera.
Attract your pup’s attention by holding a healthy treat or favorite toy in front of your camera. (Of course, let them have it every few minutes so they feel rewarded.)
Trying to cut down on treats? Try making a high-pitched or other interesting noise that’ll grab their attention.
5. Change Your Angle
Everyone has seen a thousand pictures of dogs looking up at the camera. Instead, get up-close and personal!
Get down on your knees or even lie down on the ground to get a different perspective of your dog’s world.
It can also be cute to zoom in on Rex’s cutest features, like his paws, ears, and nose. Print it as a black and white image and you’ve got an artsy shot for your wall.
6. Don’t Use Flash
In addition to washing out your photo and giving your dog “laser eyes,” your camera’s flash can startle your pup.
Proper lighting is everything when it comes to taking pictures of your dog. Choose a cloudy day (the light is more diffuse so you won’t get as many shadows) and open your windows or go outside!
7. Don’t Hesitate
The longer you wait to line up the perfect shot, the greater the chance that your dog will move from that super cute position.
It also helps to take lots of photos! Since digital photography went mainstream (not to mention smart phones), there’s no such thing as “wasting” a shot. The more photos you take, the greater the odds that you’ll get that perfect portrait.
8. Be Patient
Dogs aren’t exactly human, but they still have wants, needs, and emotions just like we do.
So be patient when doing a photo shoot with your dog. Leave plenty of time for trial and error, wayward sniffing, and treat time and try not to get frustrated when Shilo keeps running over for a hug instead of posing. She just loves you.
9. Edit Your Photos
It’s every professional photographer’s secret weapon: photo editing software!
With the right color correction and a little cropping, you can take good pictures of your dog and make them great.
If you aren’t Photoshop-friendly, don’t worry about it. There are plenty of online applications that are easier for a layperson to master. Sites like Picmonkey, Pixlr, and Canva are popular and have lots of features to play around with.
10. Don’t Force It
Above all, don’t force your pet to do something s/he doesn’t want to do.
Taking pictures of your dog should be a fun experience for both of you. If your pup just isn’t feeling it that day, give them a hug and try again another day.
Your dog is a full-fledged member of your family. Treat her like one by taking some beautiful photographs that represent the pup you know and love.
And with these 10 tips, you’ll be ready to take good pictures of your dog that you will cherish for a lifetime.