How to take better photos of your pet - 5 tips

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My guess is that you have at least 100+ pictures of your dog in your photo album on your cellphone. Am I right? If you plan to take some more pictures of your furry friend, read on.

Last year I was asked to provide some tips for The Honest Kitchen’s blog on how to take better photos of your pet and how to get them ready for their professional photos. Today, I wanted to share five of my favorite tips with you, for when you are at home trying to get some cute photos of your furry friend.

Tip #1 – Make your dog comfortable around the camera.

Some pets are natural born models and actually love being in front of the camera. Others turn their head away or walk into another room when you put that strange thing in front of their pretty face. The latter is my greyhound and it’s all my fault. Yes, as a pet photographer I do admit I screwed up before I knew better. I was so excited to photograph Chantelle with both my camera and my iPhone that I overdid it and worse, I did it without using rewards.

So learn from my mistake, make sure being around the camera/cellphone means exciting things for your dog. Treats, a ball (unless your dog is ball obsessed) or lots of positive reinforcement, whatever makes their tail wag.

If your dog is shy or show signs of insecurity when you are using your camera, you might even have to start rewarding them when the camera is simply near them and before it’s even used. It’s all about creating a positive experience. When being photographed is just another fun thing that happens everyday, the likelihood of your dog giving you natural expressions and showing off their true personality is so much greater.

Thankfully, Chantelle is still doing all right with the camera, but nevertheless I have to be quick or she gives me the “you are really going to do this?” unhappy look before she turns her long beautiful nose in the opposite direction.

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For Daisy balls and treats are equally good.

Tip #2 – Get down to their level.

By positioning yourself at your dog’s eye level you will create a better connection in your pictures. If your dog is small, your back and knees are strong and you are up for it, you could even try to lie on the ground (yes, you’ll get dirty but hopefully it’s worth it).

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Yup, both Josie and I were laying on the grass for this one.

Tip #3 - Get creative with the sounds.

Rather than trying to get your dog’s attention by calling their name or squeaking a toy, explore what different sounds you can come up with that they’ve never heard before. Oftentimes my clients are giggling during our photo session when they realize those strange sounds they hear is actually coming from my mouth.

Oh, there are also apps (of course, right) with different animal sounds you can try.

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Frankie trying to figure out where that sound came from.

Tip #4 – Make sure there is enough light

I’ve taken so many classes on different type of lighting and it really is a big topic. You might have heard the expression; photography is all about light. But if I were to break it down to one simple tip it would be to make sure to have enough of it. If you are photographing your dog indoors, stay close to a window with indirect light shining in (direct sun is most likely too harsh). Position yourself with your back towards the light, so the light is shining on you pet and not coming from behind.

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Hunter on the bed with a big window to the right of the camera.

Tip #5 – Elevate your dog

By elevating your dog on things like a stool or a chair (indoors) or a rock (outdoors), you are not only helping them to stay still a bit longer but it’s also another way to get down to your dog’s eye level (tip #2). Always keep safety in mind and make sure your dog can’t hurt himself/herself if they fall or when they jump down.

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Diesel and Bamboo being perfect models sitting on a stool.

I hope you found these tips helpful and if you want to check out the article on the Honest Kitchen blog, here’s a link:

https://www.thehonestkitchen.com/blog/get-pet-photo-ready-expert-tips/

Oh, and the image of the bundled up black puppy at the end of the article you’ll see again soon, as I had the pleasure to photograph him the other day (two years later). He’s now a handsome little man with a beard. Can’t wait for you to see how much he’s grown!


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