Photographing Fido: 8 Tips

So you want to take photos of Fido, but you don't know where to start? Luckily dogs are well embraced here at The Photography Gift Shop and we've got our favourite tips and tricks to capturing the perfect pet photo. 

1. Go with the Flow

Breathe in - breathe out. Now is the time to take some deep breaths and go with the flow. If your dogs are anything like ours, they have a mind of their own and trying to force them to do something they really don't want to do isn't going to work. If you're relaxed your energy will set the mood for your dog as well. Shoot in an area that is calm and quiet that your pet is familiar with so that they feel in their element. 

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2. Be Quick 

Wait what? Yes, we did just tell you to be relaxed... but you still have to be quick. Your pets reactions and movements can be swift so be aware and make sure you have a quick shutter speed and are shooting on rapid fire. Try not to make abrupt movements yourself, but be ready to capture the moment.

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3. Think About Lighting 

Like any photo it's still important to think about lighting when taking your pets portraits. We prefer natural lighting for pets, as flash can not only startle your pet but can also cause their eyes to glow. If you're taking photos indoors position yourself near windows for as much natural light as possible. If your pet is black try and get a much light on their face as possible to bring out their features.

As you can see here the right side of Stella's face is a lot more visible than her left because more light is falling on that side. 

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4. Focus On Expression

All pets have their own little (or big) personalities, so it's important to focus on their facial expressions. Is your dog excitable, shy or sweet? Maybe they can be all three. Take the time to really wait for the moment their personality shines.

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5. Get on Their Level

It's important to get on your dogs level to not only make them feel more comfortable but it's also just more atheistically pleasing. No one ones to feel like they are towering over your dog, and we want a clear view of their face.

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6. Think About Aperture

When shooting your dogs portrait it's ideal to get their entire face in focus. Since dogs often have long muzzles, shooting with a low aperture means that the depth of field will be shortened which often causes either only the nose or eyes to be in focus. When in doubt, always aim to have the eyes the sharpest part. As far as lenses go, it really depends on what type of photo you are going for - for portraits I like to use a 50mm lens, but it you're shooting them in action a longer lens such as a 200mm can be better suited.

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Here you can see that Bertie's nose is slightly soft, but because his eyes are tack sharp the photo works.

7. Interact with Your Dog

To not only help handle the dog, but also to help tell a better story, include people in your dog's portrait as well. This can help put your dog at ease and help them keep their focus too. So get the kids involved!

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8. Treats, Treats and more Treats

When all else fails pay your model well! Using treats to reward your dog every few minutes will help make it a positive experience for them and keep them focused on you. You can also try holding a treat or their favourite toy above your camera to get them to look into the lens. Or make a fool of yourself and make a bunch of funny noises using your dog voice! ;) 
And remember, practice makes perfect!

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There you have it our 8 tips for better photos of your dog. We would love to see what you're up to so make sure you share with us on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Happy shooting! xxx

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