There is nothing I love more than taking great photos of my dog. This isn’t always as easy as the end result makes it look. Dogs don’t have the longest attention spans, are often quick to give into distractions and very rarely hold still. Even harder than getting a great shot of a dog, is taking a great shot of a person with a dog. The person wants to look at the dog, is making a face or is in mid-sentence of telling the dog to “stay”.
Here are some key points to help you get the most beautiful photo of your dog.
- Get down on the ground with the dog. You don’t want to be shooting down at the dog, but rather be down at his height. Lie all the way down on the ground, don’t just stoop down.
- Take really good, high value treats like lamb lung or beef liver. They are aromatic, break into small pieces easily and dogs love them. Make sure you give little tiny pieces so your dog doesn’t get sick from too many treats during a photo shoot.
- Take a squeaky toy that you can use to get your dog’s attention. You might want to try several different sounds. It’s nice to have a new sound that your dog isn’t used to just yet. That way they are curious, but not necessarily expecting something like a ball toss. A duck whistle is a good tool for getting a cute head tilt.
- If a person is in the photo with the dog, ask them to not pay attention to the dog, but just focus on you. That way you can do your job of getting a great dog shot and not have to worry too much about the person wrecking it for you by trying to help.
- The flip side of having the person not pay attention to the dog is having the person totally interacting with the dog. You can get great candid photos of dog and parent playing together, looking into each other’s eyes and being natural together. Be sure to take both kinds of photos when you are doing a person/pet photo.
- Pick a setting that is nice, but where you aren’t going to be worried about your dog running away from you. It’s very possible that your own backyard is the best place to photograph your dog.
- Make sure the area is free of debris and clutter.
- Have your dog groomed a day or two before the photos, but not clipped too short.
- Collar free is always nice for a few images if you are working in the safety of your own yard.
- If you are doing a person/pet photo, ask the person to wear solid colors that do not distract.
- A slightly overcast day is always better than a cloud free one. Watch out for strong shadows.
- Be patient. It might take several shots to get the perfect image. In the photo world, we used to always say “film is cheap”. Shoot lots of pictures and most importantly, have fun.