How to Get Great Pictures of Your Dog
As many of you dog owners reading this know from personal experience, it can be challenging to get a great photo of your dog. That’s because we don’t know that when you point your phone or camera at us, it means we should keep doing the cute thing we’ve been doing, or we should look right at you with an adorable expression, or we should stop moving so that you can actually get a decent shot instead of a blur of fur.
Well, I’m here to help. Your dog may never be a top model, but here are some tips that can help you better capture their cuteness on camera.
Master the Basics
No matter your subject, there are some general guidelines to follow to get good photos.
– Pay attention to light. Harsh light from the flash or from bright sunlight can wash out your subject, while low light almost guarantees fuzzy or grainy photos. Soft natural light coming in from outside, or outside in the shade, is great light for pet portraits. If that’s not possible, play around with the settings on your camera to find what works best with the light you have.
– Get the composition right. Sure, your dog is the star of the shot, but look at what else is going on in the frame. Remove clutter or find a different angle to shoot from to get a better background. And when in doubt, follow the rule of thirds.
– Focus on the eyes. When taking pictures of dogs, humans, and other creatures, you want to make sure the camera is focusing on the eyes so they come out the clearest.
Capture Their Attention
Your dog is gazing at you adoringly and you want to capture the moment, but by the time you get your camera ready, they’ve lost interest and are looking at something else (like a squirrel). Save the moment by capturing their attention and redirecting it towards the camera. You can do this by saying their name or, even better, by holding up a favorite toy or treat by the shutter, a surefire way to get them to look towards you again with interest. You can even buy a gadget that clips to the top of your phone and holds a brightly colored tennis ball so you can get the perfect selfie with your pooch.
Get Down on Their Level
If you’re used to taking photos standing or sitting with your dog below you, try getting down and taking some shots at their eye level. This is a different perspective that will draw you into their world and help you see things from a different point of view.
Use the Burst Mode on Your Camera
This is a common feature on good cameras and is increasingly available on cell phone cameras, too. With Burst Mode, aka continuous shooting mode, you hold down the button to take the picture and instead of taking a single shot, you get several taken in a row, somewhere between 3-14 per second. This is great for taking photos of your dog in action, while running or playing. You can select the best, clearest shot from the bunch instead of hoping that the single shot you take actually comes out well.
Explore other shooting modes on your camera, too, such as Sports or Action that are intended to get clear shots of quick movement. You can also manually adjust your shutter speed to be fast (as long as you have enough light) to ensure crisp action shots.
This tip isn’t about the camera but about you. You already know that your dog can sense your moods and feelings. So when it comes time to get the shot, relax. Don’t bark orders at your dog and don’t make a big deal about taking their picture. If you’re taking multiple shots from different angles, move slowly, not suddenly, and stay calm. Your dog is more likely to stay in the right position if they feel relaxed and know that you are, too.
‘Til next time, Beckley
Beckley was a racing greyhound until he retired at 2 1/2 years old and was adopted off the track. He's super fast when he wants to be, but he actually prefers to take it easy, napping on the most comfortable bed he can find!