If you are like 99.9% of dog owners out there, you’ve at some point pulled out your phone or hired a photographer to capture images of your dog. However, you were met with distractions, strained expressions, and blurry photos. Don’t worry! I’ve got you. As a Spokane, WA dog photographer, trust me when I say I feel your pain. Read along to find out five ways to improve your dog photography game.
“Sit. Stay. No, not down. Sit. Look here! NO!! Stop Licking… What are you smelling???”Every dog owner, ever.
Move to Eye Level
If you want to instantly take an image from a snapshot to a storytelling centerpiece, move to the eye level of your subject. By subject, I mean your dog. If you own a corgi, my sincerest apologies. You’re going to need to lay on your stomach for the shot.
If you’ve seen me around town after a shoot, this will explain why my shirt is always covered in dust, sticks, dog hair, and dirt. You gotta pay to play, and as a Spokane dog photographer, this is the price.
In all seriousness, though, I dropped this first because if you read no further, this is the fastest and easiest way to improve your dog photography instantly.
Find Their Motivation to Improve your Dog Photography Skills
Not all dogs are food motivated. I’d say about half the dogs I encounter as a Spokane pet photographer want nothing to do with the hot dogs stuffed in my pocket. That’s why I also come armed with a duck call, squeak toys, a ball, and various other things.
For Q, he’s highly food motivated, but the real thing that I’ve found to keep him engaged is what I call “Puppy Parties.” He LOVES to know he did a great job. Puppy parties mean all the praise and pets to keep reminding him what a star he is. He even gets excited when other dogs receive recognition. Food is fantastic, but praise completes his dog soul.
Let Them Smell
Did you know that some dogs have up to 300 million scent receptors in their nose? For every one receptor that we have as a human, dogs have 50 more! Scent is their dominant sense, like sight is ours. When we go to a new place or experience, we rely on our sight to get comfortable. Dogs are the same but with their nose.
If you venture out of their typical space for photos, give them ample time to get the lay of the land. Let. Them. Smell.
Giving your pup 20 minutes to get acclimated to his/her surroundings before attempting photos will be a game-changer.
Set Yourself Up with Good Light for Great Dog Photos
Not all light is created equal. A phrase said by all photographers. However, this is even more important when trying to capture images of wiggly dogs. I won’t go into the details, but the darker your space, the harder your phone camera has to work, and this creates blur with any motion.
You might think your room has good light, but once you hop down to a dog’s level, you’ll notice the light is being blocked by the couch, chair, or wall. 1’ off the ground is often much darker than where you’re looking at 5’ above.
If you’re shooting inside, bring your dog away from walls and furniture into consistent light.
Outside works great for light, but avoid shooting when the sun is directly overhead. Hello, awkward muzzle shadows. Bring your dog into the shade or shoot when the sun is lower in the sky.
Most importantly, If you want to Improve your Dog Photography, End on a Good Note
Always walk away from any photo session (professional or DIY), telling your dog what a fantastic pup they are and thank them for their time. Your pooch will remember the last 30 seconds of your photography experience. Even if you stepped in poop, your dog never looked once, and EVERY photo is blurry, LOVE ON YOUR DOG.
Be thankful that you have a stellar dog to photograph, and even if the photos weren’t perfect, keep it upbeat to try another day again.
I can’t tell you enough how important it is to pull out your phone and grab a few photos of your dog. THEY MATTER. Every blurry, out of focus photo should be well-loved and cherished. If you enjoyed this, check out more about why I think pet photography is SO important in this past post. Pet Photography, Why it Matters.
I hope this gave you a few ideas on improving your dog photography to a tail-wagging level. If you have a favorite dog photo, let me know about it below. I love reading the comments!
MB – A Spokane Photographer serving people and their pets through connected images.
If want to chat more about pet photography and how it could fit your family, drop me a note here.