Dogs have taken over social media and the Internet in the past several years. Now everyone is trying to be a dog influencer. And one of the most important things you need is quality pictures. Or quality content if you like.
How do you get the perfect dog picture? It is a question many people have when they are trying to start their Instagram dog profile.
Whether you are taking photos for fun, or you want to post them on social media, there are certain areas where you can improve.
How To Take Cute Pictures With Your Dog
Today, I will talk about that with you. I started taking photos of Milo for fun, and then a friend suggested I open up an Instagram profile. Granted, I still use social media for fun and to promote places in my country, and I strive to get better and better photos.
Yes, pets are unbelievably cute and adorable. But taking pictures is not easy. Here is what I have learned over several years of taking photos of my beautiful Jack Russell terrier.
Make Your Pet Comfortable
It is important that your pet feels comfortable when you are taking photos. Go to your pet. Instead of forcing him to come to you and sit at that spot, or look at that side, try to go to them.
And more importantly, get down to his level. It is one of the first things people will tell you about pet photography. Get down on your dog’s level. That means sitting on the floor and remembering to shoot from your pet’s eye level or below.
Show people how your dog sees the world. Not how we view them from above.
Focus on The Eyes
If you want to add depth to your picture, focus on your dog’s eyes. This is how you get the best emotional dog portrait. Similar to human portraits, eyes create depth.
So, if your dog has unusual eye color, emphasize it. Create a sense of familiarity by focusing on your pet’s eyes. And most importantly, remember to use a wide aperture to enhance it.
Now, more on when to take these photos later on. Spoiler alert: it is not at the beginning of the photo session.
Use Your Dog’s Instinct To Your Advantage
One of the most important things I have learned is that Milo doesn’t stay calm for a photo for a while. But he is always focused and alert when he is sniffing and looking for something. Granted, he is a hunting dog breed.
So, if you have a hound breed, a hunting breed, or any other breed, use that instinct to your advantage. For example, when I want to take a good landscape photo and Milo looking at the horizon, I instruct him to search for something. His instinct kicks in by saying “Where is the ball”.
Action shots are better than calm photos. I can tell you that much. But it is not an easy thing to do. How do you take the best action shots?
Well, even a low-quality phone has burst mode, right? Use burst mode or continuous shooting for taking epic action shots and hilarious photos of your dog.
Images of dogs lounging around the house get old fast. Capture your dog’s wild side by showing pictures of dogs jumping, swimming, running, and chasing after a toy.
And because active dogs are unpredictable, you cannot compose a shot during your session. Do not wait for the perfect moment, take spontaneous images using burst mode.
Highlight Your Dog’s Character
The best photos are those that convey your dog’s character. Now I said lazy dogs get old quick. But if that is what your dog is, emphasize it even more. For example, I follow a Shih Tzu on Instagram that loves to sleep all day. And her photos are amazing. Accompanied by funny captions about the weekend and why is it Monday again, she kills it.
So, if you have lazy dogs, show them yawning. But if your animal is on the playful side, show them in action. We talked about how to take good action shots, right?
Make Things Fun
I cannot stress this enough. Dogs are not fashion models who love to pose for the camera. Yes, they look great in photos. But it is not their idea of fun. So, instead of trying to push your dog to pose, make things fun and you will get a good picture.
When your puppy is having fun, it will be more inclined to pose for a picture. How to make things fun? Well, do things that your pet loves.
Surprise Your Pet
Here is a trick you can use to capture your pet playing. It will help you make amazing photos of your dog playing, but looking at you.
Keeping your pet still is hard to do. That is one of the biggest challenges in pet photography. So, this is a simple trick. Let your pet play quietly. And then, set up your camera, get ready, and just whistle.
This will surprise your pet and make him/her look at you in the middle of playtime. Great, right?
Try The Panning Technique
The panning technique in photography is something professionals use to create textures and emphasize movement. For example, they take a photo of a detective leaving or arriving at the crime scene.
Now, how do you use it in pet photography for great photos? Here is a tip for this creative approach. The goal is to plan or get an idea of where you want your puppy to run or will run. Once you are ready, move your camera in the direction your pet is running.
Press the shutter, and you will get a good photo. So, remember, do not focus on your dog, but on the place where you want your puppy to be.
You can practice it by shooting moving vehicles. Once you master it, try it with your puppy.
Always start with action shots, leave the calm poses for later
I said before that we will talk about when and how to take each photo. Dogs can be unpredictable, but you can plan your session by implementing some structure to it.
If you want to take calm photos, do not take them at the start of the session. Your dog is more likely to be calm, relaxed, and with his tongue out happy after a quick play session or walk.
Shooting strategically will avoid a lot of stress and help you plan. If you have an active puppy, always take action shots first and then move to the relaxed poses.
If you want only calm photos, walk your dog and play for a while, then take some photos. Once your pup settles down, you can take classic dog portraits.
Between breaks, you can reward your puppy with treats and take close-up photos.
If all else fails, call in the big guns
What are the big guns? Toys and treats of course. Find out what drives your puppy. Some dogs are toy-driven, and others are treat-driven. My JRT, for example, would do anything for a ball. Once I show him a ball, I have him.
I can make him do all sorts of things and stay focused. I do it when I want him to sit in an area with a lot of distractions. Instead of sniffing around, I make him sit in front of a waterfall and take a beautiful picture.