It’s natural to want to take plenty of photos of your dogs to cherish forever. But when they’re bouncy, wriggly and prone to red-eye, how do you get good photos?
Here are ten dog photography tips I’ve learned from workshops, the internet and a whole lot of trial and error.
1) Use a high-speed setting. Some digital cameras have “sports” settings, which take pictures quicker to eliminate the blur from action shots. This is perfect for shooting active dogs.
2) Use a pet setting if you have it. Some newer digital cameras have a setting that combines the high-speed setting with a special red-eye type correction. That correction prevents the weird colored eyes that so many pet pictures end up with.
3) Change how you use flash. If you don’t have the pet setting, there are still ways to avoid the weird eyes. Use natural lighting whenever possible; it will give you great color and avoid the need for flash. If you have to use your flash, use one ply of tissue and cover your flash snugly with it. The tissue will act as a filter, lighting up the photo without giving the glare that causes weird eyes.
On his level, worn out, no flash, capturing his favorite toy.
4) Use basic commands. Take advantage of sit, stay, down, whatever else you want your big dog to do in the photo. This is helpful for posed shots, like family portraits.
5) Get on your dog’s level. Many of us take photos of our dogs from our perspective, angled down at the dog and the floor. Get down on the floor, next to them on the bed, wherever they are to capture them at their level. It gives a very different perspective when the photo captures what the dog is seeing, too.
Off-center, in the moment, close-up
6) Catch them in the act. Action shots tend to capture a dog’s personality much better than a posed picture does. Snap a photo when they’re gnawing on their favorite dog toy, sniffing out interesting things on a hike, or they have their head out the car window.
7) Wear them out. If your dog is just too bouncy for a good photo, take some photos after a long walk or visit to the dog park. They’ll be less rowdy and you’ll have a better chance of getting photos that aren’t blurry.
8) Go for the unexpected. Instead of centering your dog in the photo, try off-center shots. Or try photos of specific parts of your dog – his face, his paws, his eyes and ears when on alert. This kind of uniqueness will add interest to the photo. This is a great tip for those of you entering your dog in a photo contest. To make your dog stand out from the pack, try dressing them up with something that pops, like one of these dog fleece sweaters.
Off-center, simple scenery, natural light, dog in sit-and-stay
9) Keep it simple. No need for elaborate settings or backgrounds. Remove clutter from the photo if possible – they distract from the subject of the photo.
10) Take lots of photos. Professionals swear by this: the more photos you take, the better chance you’ll have at getting that one perfect shot. See if your camera has a “continuous” setting – it will take several photos in a row. Great for capturing a specific action several times.
Will you be putting these tips to use next time you pick up a camera? Get more great tips on getting the most enjoyment out of life with your dog by subscribing to our weekly updates. Just enter your name and email in the green box at top right.
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Photo credits (from top to bottom): certified su, TheGiantVermin, Shari F.