Dog Photography Tips: How to Capture the Perfect Moment

Updated on November 12, 2019
Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia has a passion for dogs. Peso is her dog whom she loves eternally, and she dedicates all doggie articles to him.

A Dog Photography Tutorial for Beginners
A Dog Photography Tutorial for Beginners | Source

How to Get Your Dogs to Model

I love photography and my dogs make perfect subjects. I've been successful at photographing them because I always make sure that they are happy and feeling playful when we do photoshoots. I update their photos from time to time because I regularly submit images of them with my articles to pet magazines. I am also active in at least two dog forums where I post my dogs' pictures. I also post their latest photos on Facebook regularly so that friends can see how cute they are as they grow old gracefully.

While I'm no professional by any means, I have had great success at capturing special moments. In this article, we will talk about how to master the following:

  1. Action Shots
  2. Glamour Shots
  3. Look-at-the-Camera Shots
  4. Sit-and-Stay Shots
  5. Cute-and-Cuddly Shots

The Secret to Good Dog Photos

Keep in mind that this article is not about professional photography, rather, it's about my personal experience as a dog owner and lover of photography. I enjoy taking photos of my dogs and I like to take good pictures of them without it being stressful.

I will not be discussing camera techniques in this article, so you should refer to a professional photographer for further training. But here's a secret: Capturing a good dog photo is all about the connection between you and your subject—nothing more and nothing less.

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Looking CutePosing With a ToyLooking Cuddly
Looking Cute
Looking Cute
Posing With a Toy
Posing With a Toy
Looking Cuddly
Looking Cuddly

1. How to Get Action Shots of Your Dog

Getting an action shot means taking photos of your subject(s) while they are playing. When it comes to dogs, it is very natural for them to be in action—they can move around according to what's natural for them.

For a good action shot, dogs don't even have to get told to play . . . they will do so naturally. In order to capture the perfect shot, simply have all the right presets ready to go on your camera and keep your camera with you at all times. Is your dog having fun? Have your camera ready. You never know when you will catch that golden moment.

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A Cute Action ShotMore Play TimeGive KissesFunny FacesPlaytime!
A Cute Action Shot
A Cute Action Shot
More Play Time
More Play Time
Give Kisses
Give Kisses
Funny Faces
Funny Faces
Playtime!
Playtime!

2. How to Get Good Glamour Shots of Your Dog

When it comes to glamour shots, dogs are required to wear cute or casual dog clothes. It can also mean that your dog might wear a hat that matches his or her harness or a shirt or cute dog accessories.

It's the photographer's role to capture the subject's most glamorous look and pose. It's important that you are quick to react and capture that moment when the opportunity presents.

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Glamour Shots Require Cute OutfitsPosingLooking GoodAll Dressed UpComplementary ColorsFancy
Glamour Shots Require Cute Outfits
Glamour Shots Require Cute Outfits
Posing
Posing
Looking Good
Looking Good
All Dressed Up
All Dressed Up
Complementary Colors
Complementary Colors
Fancy
Fancy

3. How to Make a Dog Look at the Camera

Depending on the dogs' moods, it can be a bit of a challenge to make them look at the camera. The person taking the photograph must be able to call the dogs by name. If you are just photographing one dog, it's a bit easier, but if you want two dogs to look at the camera at the same time, this requires that the dogs are already bonded.

Dogs normally look at you when you call their names, so you can simply use this technique during the photo shoot. Try to be funny—my dogs look at me playfully whenever I make funny faces at them. You can also try to make funny and distracting noises that draw their attention—just never anything scary.

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Great Eye ContactTwo Dogs Looking at OnceLooking Into the CameraTwo Dogs Looking at Once
Great Eye Contact
Great Eye Contact
Two Dogs Looking at Once
Two Dogs Looking at Once
Looking Into the Camera
Looking Into the Camera
Two Dogs Looking at Once
Two Dogs Looking at Once

4. How to Get a Dog to Hold a Pose and Sit Still

Getting your dog to stay still can be a lot harder than trying to get your dog to look at the camera, though in this type of shot, looking at the camera will not be required—you simply want to get the two dogs to stay together. Again, making one dog sit and stay is far easier than doing it with two or more. But remember that dogs will look up to you and will generally follow your command.

Bribe them with treats every time they obey and soon you can make them sit together. This will take time, but there is a chance that your dogs will just simply sit together without being told. Just make sure to be quick in clicking the camera—dogs are impatient models, too.

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Holding a PoseStay Still for the CameraHolding a PoseLooking Good
Holding a Pose
Holding a Pose
Stay Still for the Camera
Stay Still for the Camera
Holding a Pose
Holding a Pose
Looking Good
Looking Good

5. How to Get Cute and Cuddly Shots of Your Dog

When is the best time to take pictures of your dog? The best time to take photos of your dog is when they are sleeping. The cuteness in these photos is just so natural and innocent. Just be careful with your movements because you can easily wake them up with one single noise.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
MAC is sleeping here, believe it or not.Cuddly and CuteTwo Sleepy DogsAdorable
MAC is sleeping here, believe it or not.
MAC is sleeping here, believe it or not. | Source
Cuddly and Cute
Cuddly and Cute
Two Sleepy Dogs
Two Sleepy Dogs
Adorable
Adorable

Good Photography Habits: Tips, Suggestions, and Techniques

Here are some important dog photography rules to follow:

Make Sure Everyone Is Comfortable

Dog photography is easier when both the humans and dogs have a good rapport with one another. This means that the dogs that are being photographed are comfortable with their humans and that the participating humans know the behavior of the dogs well.

Be Patient

Remember: Dog photography requires patience. Our models are dogs and not professional human models that can understand all of our instructions. We, humans, are to adapt to what our dogs are capable of doing, not vice versa.

Use Treats

You can use treats or toys to keep dogs looking at you. Reward them with treats and don't ever make them feel pressured to take a photo if they aren't comfortable. Make sure they feel like the photography session is a game and that they are having fun.

Know When to Stop

If you think you are the one running out of patience, it means it is time to stop the photo session and continue on another day. Always remember that we take photographs of our dogs to enjoy the moment with them—not for other purposes.

Never Force It

We must always remind ourselves that we should never force a dog to do something as this can be ineffective and can actually be quite damaging. I can always show my dog photos to everyone in confidence that I never threatened my dog just for one good photo. I hope you abide by the same rules.

Pet Photography Tips From a Professional

Questions & Answers

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      • Maria Cecilia profile imageAUTHOR

        Maria Cecilia 

        7 years ago from Philippines

        Why naman LOL, anyway thanks for visiting

      • profile image

        sakanami cruz 

        7 years ago

        regret ko lang late ko na kayong nakilala.

      • Maria Cecilia profile imageAUTHOR

        Maria Cecilia 

        8 years ago from Philippines

        Shibake finally hahahah, so you see this one looks serious but the truth is we actually are the ones adjusting to them so they can come out good though not perfect in a picture... so you finally met my other dog? dog photographs with 3d fantsy? comne on make a hub on it? you think I can learn it too? I am interested really.....thanks for Visiting, by the way did I mention to you that your breed dog is one of my dream dogs? they are just adorable

      • shibashake profile image

        shibashake 

        8 years ago

        Hahaha - awesome photos! I especially like the first picture, all the fashion shots, and the rolled over sleeping one.

        Yeah the action shots are usually the most difficult. As you say, it is easiest to take a sequence of continuous shots because it is difficult to time and frame.

        My latest thing is to compose my dog photographs with 3d fantasy backgrounds. It is a whole lot of fun!

      • DjBryle profile image

        DjBryle 

        9 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

        hahaha! It's okay miss Macel. I wanted to comment on this the time it was published but time did not give me enough chance... lol! hey, you don't need to be apologetic if some people are not pleased with the pics... why would they even spend time on it if they truly find these tips insensible? Truly, actions speaks louder than words ;) Merely looking and leaving comments are other people's unconscious way of saying that they apend their precious time for your hub... hihihi! Cheers! =)

      • Maria Cecilia profile imageAUTHOR

        Maria Cecilia 

        9 years ago from Philippines

        Jen hahaha thanks for visiting, sometimes I am really like a child reporting to someone younger than her hahahah. I really appreciate your words

      • DjBryle profile image

        DjBryle 

        9 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

        Hey, miss Macel, this hub is so helpful. One may be so expert about photography and its technicalities but your tips on how to deal and communicate with your dogs to cooperate during their picture taking is really very useful. Not all expert photographers can do that! hehe... Thanks for sharing such an awesome and useful hub. Voted up too! Cheers! =)

      • Maria Cecilia profile imageAUTHOR

        Maria Cecilia 

        9 years ago from Philippines

        Lady E thanks so much...

      • Lady_E profile image

        Elena 

        9 years ago from London, UK

        Very interesting and thanks for the Tips. Your Dogs are so cute.

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