Think your dog has what it takes to become the next social media star or do you just want some really great photos of your pup? With all the improvements in cell phone cameras and easy-to-use photo editing software, getting high-quality pics (or even video) of your pup is now easier than ever.
Follow our tips to become the pup-arazzi your dog deserves and create a fun photoshoot for your dog with amazing brag-worthy photos for you to keep or share.
1. Gather your supplies
When taking pictures of your dog, you’ll need a few things to ensure a successful photoshoot. The first is going to be your camera or phone. Check that it’s fully charged and has plenty of memory before you start. It would be a shame if your phone died or you lost that perfect shot because your memory was full so confirm your equipment is ready before you dive into your session.
You’ll also want to have water, treats, a squeaky toy, and any props you’re planning to use for your shoot within easy reach.
2. Practice makes perfect
Getting great photos of your dog might require some practice. Kim Borbone, dog trainer and creator of an Influencer Workshop for dogs reminds pet parents to work on their dog’s stay. She says you want to get a really solid stay in order to get great photos.
Since you might be moving around your pup or moving down to their level with your camera, it’s important that your dog learns not only how to stay, but also how to hold their position with lots of distractions. If your dog comes running for a treat or reacts to your motion, you won’t have time to get a great shot.
So, practice before you shoot to ensure you’ll get a great shot every time. And don’t be afraid to take a lot of photos - you can delete the ones that don’t make the cut or even put together a blooper reel with the funniest photos. This may become something you treasure and remind you of all the fun you had taking silly photos together.
3. Timing is everything
Not only do you need to get the perfect shot before your pup decides they’re over their modeling session and ready for a good zoomie, but the time of day you take your picture does matter. Kim says natural light makes for the best photos, so you’ll want to choose a time during the day when the sun is brighter.
Some people like to shoot around what’s known as “golden hour” for the best light. In the winter this might be as early as 4 pm but in the summer you might be able to grab that light as late as 6 pm. Keep the sun behind you and in front of your dog for optimal lighting.
Try to schedule your shoot for a time that’s good for your pup too. We recommend some light exercise and a chance to do their business before you shoot so they’re ready to focus. You may also want to avoid shooting too close to mealtimes or bedtime as well - especially if you have a younger dog.
4. Set the stage
If you’re shooting inside, clean up your space before you shoot. Dirty laundry or a messy space will pull focus from your pup (the real star of the show). If you’re shooting in an outdoor location try to pick a time and place that doesn’t have too many people or distractions in the background.
If you’re shooting outdoors, safety first! Your dog should be fenced in or have a rock-solid recall before removing their leash and/or harness. If that’s not realistic for your dog consider editing these things out later. Keep the leash loose when you shoot to avoid having it look like you’re pulling or distorting your pup’s body in the final image.
If you are having your dog pose on a log, rocks, or new surface, make sure it can hold your dog’s weight and that your dog feels comfortable. Hot pavement or wet sand for example might not be a surface your dog will enjoy hanging out on.
5. Use noises to get facial expressions
When taking a photo of your pup, you don’t want a blank expression so you can use noises to get some facial expression. Kim says many pups will tilt their heads at an unfamiliar sound so if that’s the look you’re going for try a new squeaker or play an unfamiliar sound with your phone.
6. Get on their level
When shooting dogs you can try a few different angles but for a portrait, you want to be at eye level with your dog.
7. Reward your pup for a job well done
Modeling is hard work! If your dog has paid attention to you (or at least attempted to go along with what you were asking) reward them generously. This could be with a favorite treat, a toy, or even some playtime. Bring along a tugger or a special snack for the end of your shoot to say, “Great job!”
8. Editing your photos
If you need to do a little editing to get the look you want to achieve apps like PicsArt and Pixlr tend to be easier to use for those who are new to editing photos. If you’re a seasoned pro go ahead and use Photoshop or try Adobe’s Lightroom.
Whatever you do, make sure you and your pup are having fun. Doing a photoshoot with your dog can be an amazing bonding experience. You might even teach your dog a new trick in the process so you have another way to show off in future shoots. We hope the results of your shoot are photos you will treasure forever - so don’t forget to print (and frame) a few when you’re done.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out Ollie.com.