Here's How To Get a Great Photo of Your Dog This Christmas
Here are some tips from Patrick McGough (my son and photographer) for capturing the best pictures of your dog. Patrick has been shooting his dog George, a Weimaraner, since he was a puppy, so he’s gotten quite used to being in front of the camera. Pixel, the adorable Pomeranian (shown below in her Santa suit) has been in front of the camera her whole life, too. Pixel’s mom, Traci, says that Pixel automatically strikes a pose when the camera comes out because she just knows there’s going to be a treat involved. Before you start shooting, pull out the camera or smart-phone and randomly take pictures of your pet. This will get him used to that foreign object in your hand, and he’ll be much more agreeable when it comes time for the annual holiday photo shoot. The pets in my Christmas card shoots were much better behaved than my boys!
Before the photoshoot, put your camera on automatic so you’re not fooling with it during the shoot. Scour the location, then look through the lens. Is the trash can or ratty lawn chair still in the background? Less clutter equals better image. You don’t need a fancy camera to get a good shot. Smart-phones take great photos, and it’s always handy. You can find lots of photo-editing apps, such as Snapseed, to help give your picture that professional look.
Light It Right
Good lighting is key for both humans and dogs. Try not to use the flash. It can distract and startle your pet, and it can also create those wicked-looking eyes. Outdoor or natural light is the best bet, but if you’re going to shoot indoors, shoot near a window that gets lots of light. If you are using a smart-phone, shoot earlier in the day when the light is better.
Get All That Energy Out.
Throw the tennis ball or run around the backyard with your dog to get their nervous energy out. It will also give them that happy, tongue-wagging look, which makes for a cute picture.
Get down on your dog’s level to see what they see. The portrait will be much more interesting and can really turn out great the closer you get to their face. Lie down in front of them or squat to the side—whatever it takes to get that great close-up shot. It’s not always easy to do this alone, so find someone to help wrangle and get the dog’s attention with a treat or squeaky toy while you’re shooting. Take lots of continuous photos.
Have Treats Handy.
Have yummy treats at the ready. A good treat is bits of cooked meat that will get their taste buds jumping. Hold the treat above your head or in your palm so the dog knows there’s a tasty reward coming.
Don’t Get Stressed.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. Catching them off-guard could turn out to be the best shot. Don’t forget to play with your dog to catch that cute expression you’ve grown to love. If it’s fun for both of you, it will come through in the photo.