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Tips for Photographing Dogs

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

I have been photographing and sharing pictures of my pets on Social Media since the start of Facebook. Some of the photos that I shared early on, while definitely portraying the love that I had for my pets were not, let's say, the best quality. However, over the years I have learned several easy tricks that have elevated the quality of my photos and I want to share these secrets with you today!

So, if you are ready to take better dog photos, keep reading.

Go from this...

Dogs dressed in Disney Tees

to this....

Dogs in Bandanas | Tips for Photographing Dogs

Tip #1 - Get On Your Pet's Level

It's so easy to snap a photo of your cute dog sitting on the ground when you are standing over them, but this can cause your pet to look disproportionate in a photo by making them look smaller. Give your dog better presence in a photo by kneeling down to their level. I often photograph my pets on the floor, so I also sit (or sometimes lay) on the floor so that my camera is at the same level as my dogs eyes. When you photograph your dog at their level, the entire focus of the picture will be on your pet giving your sweet dog better presence in the photo!

Dog in Tent | Tips for Photographing Dogs

If you can't sit or lay down on the floor, no worries! You can elevate your dog by putting them in a chair or on a table and then you can photograph them by sitting in a chair. The most important thing is to keep your camera level with your dog.

Dog in Chai | Tips for Photographing Dog

Tip #2- Follow the Rule of Thirds

Our natural tendency is to center our dog's face in the camera, but to add interest to a photo follow the rule of thirds instead. Break up a photo into 9 squares (3 rows, 3 columns). Then line up your dog in one of the "third" cross sections. By doing so you will add much more interest to your photo than one that constantly centers on your dogs face.

See how Bentley is located outside the center, but still very much the center of attention!

Photograph using the rule of thirds | Tips for photographing dogs

Tip #3 - Focus on the Eyes

Your dog's eyes tell a story, so make sure that their eyes are very clear in your photo. When photographing your dog, always focus on the eyes. A photo with clear eyes will convey more emotion than one where the dog's eyes are blurry.

Focus on Dog's Eyes | Tips for Photographing Dogs

Tip #4 - Change Your Pet's Focal Direction

To add greater interest to your dog's photos, try having them look elsewhere besides directly at the camera. While you do not necessarily want your dog to look in an entirely different direction, you are just trying to get them to look a different direction without turning their head so that you can see the whites of their eyes.

This makes a huge difference in photos, giving more emotion than a photo with the dog staring straight at you. To accomplish this, I use a focal method.

Dog's Focusing on Camera \ Tips for Photographing Dogs

Tip #5 - Choose Colors That Will Pop

Finally, most of my photos include dog fashion accessories. I have photographed Bailey, in particular, in a lot of outfits. For my own personal preference I tend to navigate to lighter colors, such as cream and pastel colors, and even white. However, these do not photograph nearly as well as a darker colors will because I often use neutral backgrounds. So, I now force myself to search for outfits that I believe will pop in a photo, and these are generally darker prints, like below.