I’ve been a professional photographer for a few years now. Since graduating from Falmouth University in 2015, I’ve experimented with different specialisms including weddings, fashion, portraiture and pets. They say never work with children or animals but I’ve tried both (and definitely prefer the latter!) Today I thought I’d share with you some of my tips on how to photograph your dog, as I know it can be a challenge!
If you’re looking for professional, high quality photographs of your dog, why not book one of my Pet Pawtrait Sessions? Prices start at £80 for a 1 hour shoot in a Cornish location of your choice. I’ll join you and your dog on one of your favourite walks, capturing your adventures and bond. If you’d like to find out more about my Pet Pawtrait Sessions, please get in touch!
How to Photograph Your Dog
Take Your Dog on a Walk Beforehand
If you’re the proud owner of a high energy breed, think spaniels, collies, huskies and the like, it may be worth taking your four legged friend on a walk beforehand to burn off some of that excess energy. A well exercised dog is likely to be calm and well behaved, the secret ingredients for beautiful pet portraits. Alternatively why not bring their favourite tennis ball or frisbee with you on your shoot? They’re perfect props and a great way to keep your dog’s attention focussed on you.
Shoot in a Familiar Environment
Chances are your dog has never seen a clunky DSLR camera before, let alone had his or her pawtrait taken. There are so many new sights and smells to explore on shoot. I recommend taking your dog on one of his/her favourite walks. The familiar environment not only helps you both feel at ease, it’s also one of your special places. Whether it’s your morning walk, the place your dog learnt its name or somewhere else close to your heart, choosing to photograph your dog in a familiar environment adds depth to your story and the images you create.
Get Down to Their Level
Eye contact is important in photography, it’s what draws you in to an image. The same goes whether you’re photographing humans or hounds. So it’s a good idea to get down to your dog’s level. I spend a lot of time crouched down on the floor when I shoot Pet Pawtraits. This ensures your dog is the main subject and also provides an exciting new perspective in the images, a real dog’s eye view of the world! Another way to achieve eye contact is to sit your dog up high using logs, rocks or other natural platforms.
Bring Plenty of Treats
As any next top model will tell you, you can’t work on an empty stomach! Be sure to bring plenty of high value treats to your Pet Pawtrait Session to ensure your dog stays engaged and well behaved. Dogs are smart and love to please. They’re more likely to show off their favourite tricks if there’s a tasty reward afterwards! Foods like chicken, cheese and small dog biscuits make perfect treats. Alternatively if your dog is more toy orientated, you can’t beat a game of fetch or tug of war to reward the perfect shot!
Allow Plenty of Time and Patience
Dogs absorb their owner’s emotions. So if you’re feeling stressed or under pressure, your dog will feel and act similarly. It’s important to allow plenty of time to photograph your dog, after all it’s a happy and relaxing way to spend time with your dog! Planning ahead also helps, if you’ve got a specific image in mind the shoot will naturally be more structured and focussed.
Let Your Dog be a Dog
My last and most important tip is all about letting your dog be, well a dog! There will be times where your dog is happy to sit and pose nicely for the camera, however sometimes they have other ideas. Expect your dog to greet new friends or stop and sniff around, after all they are on one of their favourite walks! Striking a balance between photographing your dog and letting them enjoy their time outside is a great idea. You never know what spontaneous action shots may be in lying in wait as a result!
Do you have any tips on how to photograph your dog? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
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