With those big, sweet eyes, perky ears, and goofy grin, it’s no wonder that your dog’s face is the only thing on your camera roll. Dogs make something as simple as snoozing on the couch a picture-worthy moment, but getting them to look their best isn’t always easy. The lighting is never right, they refuse to look at the camera, and getting them to stay still long enough to get a decent pose is usually impossible. Here are a few tips to bring out the pet photographer in every dog owner.
#1 – Get Their Attention
If you want a picture of your pup posing for the camera, the biggest challenge is getting them to look in your direction. You can try calling to them, but don’t be surprised when they suddenly seem to forget their name or pretend they can’t hear you. A more reliable method is to use a treat or favorite toy. Your dog’s eyes will almost always follow the tempting object, and even if they aren’t looking directly at the lens, holding the treat near the camera will be close enough.
#2 – Smile Pretty!
Your dog’s “smile” complete with teeth and tongue is pet photography gold, but the phrase “say cheese” won’t help you provoke the prized look. A better method is to take five minutes before your photo shoot for a quick play session. Chase them around the yard or play tug with their favorite toy. As they start to calm down, their excitement and energy will show on their face in the form of the best puppy smile.
#3 – Forget the Flash
Working with flash photography is tricky, and amateur photographers usually have the best results with natural light. Too much of a flash can make the subject look washed out, but too little and you won’t be able to see anything in the picture. Dogs with dark fur are especially difficult to photograph. If the lighting isn’t exactly right, their face transforms into a dark, unrecognizable blob. To avoid this, plan your pictures for the mornings or early evenings. Situate your dog somewhere with warm natural light or in the shade on especially bright days.
# 4 – Think About Perspective
Anyone can look down at their dog and snap a picture of them looking up. It’s the go-to pose, but your pictures will stand out if you play with perspective. Try getting down to your dog’s level and taking the shot straight on. As most people look at animals from their higher vantage point, this new view makes for a more interesting picture. Experiment from different angles to find a perspective you like. You can crouch on the ground and point the camera up or go behind for a different point of view.
# 5 – Go With The Flow
Dogs are like toddlers, and getting an energetic subject to sit still and cooperate is sometimes impossible no matter what you do. But if you’re determined to get your shot, don’t give up. All you really need to do is change tactics. A sitting pose may be out of the question, but you can take advantage of your pup’s energy for a great action shot. Your dog is cute no matter what he’s doing, and it’s okay to let him take the lead during a photo shoot. Consider it a creative compromise and keep your camera handy as your pup shows you how he’d like to be photographed.
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