8 Tricks to Taking Better Photos of Your Dog

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn
Those perfect puppy pictures don’t just happen by chance.

It doesn’t take more than a furry friend doing something cute to make us stop in our Instagram tracks. But, we all know taking a picture of your pup is harder than it looks.

Whether it’s stopping your fluff ball from sniffing the camera or hoping she wont dart away as soon as you snap, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into an adorable doggy photo. If you want your next picture to score some #DogsofInstagram fame, pay close attention to these 8 tips for snapping the perfect puppy picture.

1. Know your pet’s personality.

You know your dog better than anyone else. If you capture your pet doing what he or she loves most, you’ll get a photo with a little bit more personality and emotion. Is Charlie a feisty pup? Play to his hyperactive nature and take his picture doing something he enjoys, like running after a ball or rolling around on his back. If Daisy’s a daydreamer who loves to be lazy, grab a shot of her cuddling in her dog bed or soaking up some sun.

2. Don’t be afraid to bribe your way through it.

Have something that Buster wants in your hand and move it around the lens as you snap away. This distraction will take attention away from the actual camera and make him feel more comfortable in front of the lens. But, don’t be a tease. If you use a ball, throw it a time or two in between shots.

3. Get down on his level.

Taking a photo looking down at your dog gives your shot a human perspective. Instead, kneel down to Baxter’s level to see the world from his angle. You’ll get better emotion and fill your photo with a sense of intimacy.

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4. Choose the right location. Lighting and context are key.

As with any great photo, look for good lighting and keep your context in mind. Most animals don’t like a flash. Make sure Sparky learns to love the camera by working with good, natural lighting instead. Snap your shot near a window or outdoors. Pay attention to the background as well. You don’t want it to be too distracting.

5. You may have to be a bit resourceful to get the best expressions.

To get your dog to smile, take her for a quick run or toss the tennis ball around to get her panting. Or, try to get her ears to perk up by making some goofy noises.

6. Shutter speed is important.

Timing is everything, so the faster you can shoot, the better chance you'll capture a winning action shot of your rowdy pooch. Some digital cameras will let you shoot in full manual mode, which will allow you to play with shutter speed. Or, try a sports mode on your camera. If you’re taking pictures on an iPhone, consider using burst mode to score a sequence of shoots to pick through.

7. Get creative, but know your limits.

Do you have the most patient and well-behaved dog ever? As long as your puppy enjoys it, test your boundaries. Play dress up. Place Frankie next to something funny. But, if your rambunctious friend isn’t the best behaved, don’t expect him to cooperate when something feels funny on his face or there’s food nearby.

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8. Reward your dog for her hard work, too.

Sure, you may have been rolling around with your pup for the past hour to get that beautiful photo, but Penny’s been working hard, too. Especially if you’ve bribed her along the way, reward her with whatever it is she loves best. We bet treats or a belly rub will do the trick.

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