Take Great Pictures of Your Dog
Does it ever seem like the best photos of your dog come when you least expect it? The phrase “it’s better to be lucky than good” is best applied when it comes to taking pictures of our pets. Fortunately, with a little time and patience (and the help of some handy tips), you can start taking professional quality photos of your best friend without having to depend on sheer luck or years of experience and technical know-how.
Be ready! It would be a shame to recognize that you have the perfect backdrop, the perfect lighting and a perfectly willing subject, only to realize your camera is out of batteries or has a full SD card. Make sure your equipment is as ready to take pictures as you and your friend are.
Know your dog. A happy dog is a more photogenic dog. If you are taking photos where your pet is happiest (think park, pool, pile of snow, etc), you will get the best results. Don’t put your dog in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar environment and expect to get grade-A photographs.
Know your technology. Of course, the better quality camera and lens you have, the better chance of taking a beautiful photo. Even so, the cameras on our phones are getting better and better, and chances are if you have a relatively new one, you already have all the equipment you need. Whatever device you are using, it’s worth taking time to learn how best to use it in any circumstance.
Of course, most social media platforms allow you to edit photos, and having some proficiency in Photoshop or another editing software can do wonders for shots that need a little makeover.
Use your viewfinder. This may seem obvious, but if what you see in your viewfinder doesn’t look good, neither will your photo. Make sure you use the viewfinder to frame the photo how you like, and make sure you like what you’re seeing when you take the shots.
Watch your lighting. If you’re taking photos outside, the light tends to be less harsh and more complimentary in the mornings and late afternoon. If using natural light indoors, don’t forget to turn off your flash (and any lamps that might be on!) to avoid mixed lighting. Also remember that too much backlighting can wash your friend right out. Of course there are no strict rules when it comes to lighting, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Get low. Your pet may look out of proportion if you are pointing your lens down on them. Be willing to get down to your pet’s level to take more realistic and flattering shots, even if it means getting all the way down on your belly. Once again though, there are no rules. Experimenting with angles can yield fun and creative results.
Train your dog. If you are hoping to capture a beautiful portrait of your dog, it will serve you well to train him or her to sit and stay. Naturally this is easier said than done with a brand new puppy, but it’s never too early to get them used to the camera. The more experience your friend has in front of the lens, the more cooperative they will be. Of course a few treats as a reward for posing for the camera can’t hurt.
Be patient. Like kids, pets can be tricky subjects, impatient and unpredictable. Fortunately, they are also naturally photogenic! Still, if you are looking for that perfect shot, one you’d be proud to frame or turn into your Facebook banner, be willing to take LOTS of photos. Out of a hundred shots, you MAY get one or two that look really professional, especially if you are a relative novice when it comes to photography. You’re not using film, so don’t be stingy with those digital clicks!
Are you ready? Grab your camera and a bag of treats and see what you can do. We promise that these tips (OK, and maybe a little luck) will have you taking pictures worth showing off in no time!
- Tags: pet photography tips
- Laura Figueroa