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How to Use Props in Dog Photos

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

I am constantly on the lookout for new photo ideas for the pups. Over the last few years I have taken photos of them sitting on every rug, dog bed, and chair I own. So, when I find a new prop to use, I am ecstatic. Last Friday, I was at Petsmart on a mission for cat food (I have two rescue kitties that I will have to introduce in another post), but I got districted and started wandering through all of the dog aisles (does this ever happen to anyone else?). As I passed by the dog bed section I noticed sale stickers on all the beds. Although a new dog bed was not on my list, how could I resist?

I immediately gravitated towards a white, fluffy bed shaped like a bean bag.

I admit, it certainly does not look stylish, and of course at the time I was wondering where I was going to put this, but I just had a feeling that if the pups enjoyed this fluffy bean bag pillow, I could not only give them another soft place to relax, but I could also get some really outstanding photos that would provide a refreshing new look to my IG account.

Play Time

Of course as soon as I got it home, Bailey and Bentley had to test it out! I am happy to report, as shown by the below video, that it was a success.

The Photo Shoot

After a fun play session, I got to work on taking their photos. It was such a joy to take these photos. I could tell the pups were at ease because we were just playing while taking pictures. I would roll them on their back and rub their bellies and talk to them, and they just loved it. They would stay for lengthy periods of time, just snuggled down in their new fluffy pillow allowing me to get amazing photos. Because the pups were at ease, I got some great, natural photos that I will be sharing in my IG account over the next couple of weeks.

For my blog readers though, here is a sneak peak:

Bailey lounging on her back in her @zigphieandco bandana after enjoying a belly rub

Bentley in his @zigphieandco collar snuggled down after furiously bouncing up and down on the pillow

The Takeaways

From this experience, I learned:

  • Plain Props Are Great Supporting Actors for Your Photos. Sometimes, a plain prop is exactly what you need to really focus in on your pet. For example, in the two photos above, the bean bag pillow supports the overall aesthetic by providing a softness to the pictures, but it does not distract from Bailey and Bentley's eyes, which are the focal points.

  • Expensive Props Are Not Required To Create a Fresh New Look. Although certainly lots of fun, you do not have to photograph your dog with expensive name-brand furnishings to stand out on Instagram. Keep it simple. Raid the closets in your house for old pillows you are no longer using, pull out an old quilt your grandmother made, or find a simple pet bed on sale like I did. Find something that will complement the picture, but not distract from your pet.

  • Playtime Leads to Natural Photos. Play with your puppies when you take their photos. The more they are enjoying themselves, the more natural the photos will turn out.

What are your tips for achieving natural pet photos with props?

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