Capturing Your Canine: Tips for Taking Great Pictures of Your Dogs

Capturing Your Canine: Tips for Taking Great Pictures of Your Dogs

As a proud owner of a handmade dog toy, leash, and collar business, I understand the importance of capturing stunning images of your furry companions. This month, I have partnered up with the wonderful Kate Petrow of Scout.WithSpirit on Instagram. I’ve been admiring her account for some time now and she seemed like the perfect resource for this topic! 
So whether you're an amateur photographer or a seasoned pro, taking great pictures of dogs can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to help you capture those perfect moments.

Use Natural Light 

Natural light can make a world of difference in your dog's photos. Try to shoot during the golden hours - early morning or late afternoon - when the light is soft and warm. Avoid harsh midday sun, as it can create unflattering shadows and cause your dog to squint.

Use Portrait Mode, Zoomed In

Portrait mode can make any subject pop, while blurring the background slightly to make for a soft and muted backdrop. One tip that photographers recommend when snapping photos on an iPhone or other smart phone is to increase the zoom on portrait mode and stand further from your subject. This creates an even more dramatic effect with your pet being sharp and clear in the foreground and the background fading back. You can also play around with adjusting the aperture of your camera which can further sharpen or soften the look of your pet in portrait mode– if your dog will be patient with you!

black and white dog in a flower garden

Get down to their level

To capture the true essence of your dog, try getting down to their eye level. This perspective can create a more intimate and engaging photo, allowing you to showcase your dog's unique personality and expressions.

Teach Helpful Cues to Make Photoshoots Easier

It can be helpful to teach your dog a few cues that will help the photo-taking process. You can
experiment with different eye contact cues such as “look at me,” or “watch.” These can ensure that your dog maintains eye contact with the camera lens. To teach these, you can hold a treat up to your face or to the camera and say the chosen command. When your dog looks, mark and reward with the treat! You can slowly build up duration. Another cue that can be helpful is the “1-2-3” game. Slowly count to three, drawing out each number. When you get to three, immediately mark and reward. Your dog will learn that if they stay still while you count up, they will have a reward coming! Plus, this gives you 3 seconds to snap a shot!

Use toys to get their attention 

One of the best ways to capture a dog's attention and get them to pose for the camera is by using their favorite toys. Whether it's a toy from our collection or a beloved squeaky ball, a toy can help grab their attention and create lively, playful shots.

person photographing a german shepherd

Patience is key

Dogs can be unpredictable, so it's important to be patient and wait for the right moment to capture the perfect shot. Take your time and be prepared to shoot multiple frames to ensure you capture the best possible image.

Experiment with action shots 

Action shots can add a dynamic and energetic element to your dog's photos. Try capturing your dog running, jumping, or playing with their favorite toy. These shots can showcase their playful nature and create visually exciting images.

Take Fun and Unique Photos with Tricks!

We all probably have albums full of photos of our dogs laying down or sitting, so it can be fun to spice it up with trick shots. Poses like “head down,” where the dog rests their head on their paws, or “cross paws,” can make for very cute and unique photos! Other fun tricks like “sit pretty” or “bow” work great too! It helps if you teach these tricks separately and slowly build up duration so the dog can stay in position for a few seconds while you snap away. Interesting poses like these allow you to capture your dog’s fun personality and can show off the tricks they know!

mini shepherd standing on back to feet

Try Taking Burst Mode Photos

If you have a young puppy or a dog who is still learning to stay still, it can help to use Burst Mode to take several photos in rapid succession. You can do this by holding down the shutter button. With Burst Mode, you are more likely to find at least one photo where your dog is still and looking at you.

Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process of capturing your dog's unique personality. With a little patience and creativity, you can create beautiful and memorable images that truly capture the essence of your beloved pet.

I want to thank Kate for taking time out of her busy schedule to share her best tips for taking such great images of her pup! Make sure to head over to Instagram and check out her page! And if you're looking for high-quality, handmade dog toys, leashes, and collars to enhance your dog's playtime and style, be sure to check out the rest of our website!

-Written in partnership with Kate Petrow of  Scout.WithSpirit