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Pet photography tips – how to take great photos of your dog

Life with a pet is simply better. Having a furry companion waiting for you at home, offering you unconditional love is most definitely a blessing. Pets, and especially dogs, are fun, faithful, they accept you for who you are, they never judge you, and they’ll always be by your side no matter what. For that and for a million other reasons we should be grateful for the pets in our lives. 

One way to celebrate this wonderful friendship is to capture some of those unique moments we share with our dogs, so we can remember them forever. However, that’s way easier said than done. Pets, unlike humans, have no idea why you put a camera in front of them if they’re not allowed to chew on it. So when talking to the subject of your photoshoot won’t help, what else can? Luckily, professional photographers have their methods to help them get the best shots even when the furry models don’t want to cooperate. Here are some tips and tricks that will make your photo session go smoother. 

Prepare for the shooting 

For the best outcome you should always have your equipment ready and a plan in mind. If you take a look at professional dog photos, they seem so natural like they were taken casually in a moment of inspiration. But don’t be fooled, there’s a lot of preparation and planning behind it, and if you want to capture the best shots, you have to do the same. Think about the kind of photos you want to take, whether you’d like to capture your pet while he’s relaxed in his own corner or when he’s out and about, bursting with energy. This will help you come up with a plan and make the most of your photo session.  

Make them feel comfortable

If your dog is not feeling comfortable, the whole photo shooting will be compromised or it won’t happen at all. If you’re nervous and anxious, your pet will pick up on that and he’ll become anxious as well, and then it’ll be much harder to calm him down. The best approach is to let him be and follow his lead. Don’t try to force your dog into doing something he doesn’t want to do (like wearing silly dog clothes). Choose a setting he’s familiar with, play with him for a while and make him feel safe if you want him to cooperate. 

Find the best light

Lighting is key in photography, no matter what kind of photos you’re taking. While studio light can sure help in this respect, taking your pet to a studio or bringing the studio to your home might not be the wisest or the most practical option. Apart from the significant investment required, all that equipment can actually scare your pet and we already agreed he must feel comfortable. Choose a setting with soft natural light (that means you should avoid dark rooms) and put your photography skills to the test. 

Emphasize their individuality

Different dog breeds have different temperaments. For example, terriers are known to be stubborn and tenacious, goldendoodle doodles are active and easygoing, boxers are playful and extroverted and so on. And even within the same breed, there can be great variation when it comes to personality, so each dog is completely unique in its own way. You’ll want that reflected in your photos, so you should strive to capture your dog’s character and personality. Take pictures of him when he’s in his natural state, whether that means lying around on the living room floor or getting into mischief. 

Get down on all fours

It’s nice to have a few photos of your dog looking up at you. They’re beyond cute and endearing. But if you want to take memorable shots, you should try to experience the world through their eyes, so you’ll have to work a bit harder for that. First step – get down on all fours. Second step – follow your pet around wherever he goes (or wherever you can fit). Third step – capture the best moments of your adventure. This might result in a few knocks and bruises, but trust us, it will be worth it when you see the amazing shots you’ve taken. 

Be creative

The good thing with photography in general and pet photography in particular is there’s really no right or wrong. You can get creative, experiment as much as you want and then select the best photos out of all the shots you’ve taken during your session. As long as your pet is having a great time, we’re sure he won’t mind looking silly or ridiculously funny in most of the pictures. After all, you want to capture valuable memories and the best way to do this is to have fun with it. 

Be patient 

Your dog is not in the mood to have his pictures taken? What can you do about it? You can try to cheer him up, give him a great belly rub, a treat or anything that might make him happy. But if he simply doesn’t want to play along, the only thing you can do is wait. Giving him one command after another in an attempt to make him act the way you want to or, even worse, yelling at him will simply confuse him and scare him away. Remember photo shootings are supposed to be fun for both of you, so be patient and let things flow naturally. 

Bring treats

You know what would make the whole session run smoother? A bit of motivation in the form of your dog’s preferred treats. We believe your model should be rewarded for the time and effort he puts in, so offer your pooch treats throughout the session to keep him happy and engaged. Apart from that, treats can also serve as great props. Next time your dog sees the camera he’ll remember the delicious treats that came along with the photo shoot and he’ll be more eager to pose. 

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