What better time than Halloween to learn how to take frighteningly good photos of your dog. Whichever side of the pet costume debate you fall on, there’s no denying that autumn lends itself to gorgeous shots filled with brilliantly-colored foliage, pumpkins, and fall flowers.
Truth be told, it’s always a good time to take pictures of your four-legged friend, so here are some of our favorite tips for taking perfect pet photos.
Use Natural Light
The more shots you can get with natural light, the better your photos will look. It not only helps you avoid doggie red eye from flash or indoor lighting, your dog will also probably be more relaxed in the sunshine. If you must shoot indoors, an off-camera flash or strobe along with a reflector lets you highlight shadows and bring details to underexposed areas.
Play to Your Dog’s Personality
When you focus on showing your dog’s true nature, you avoid frustrating your pet and yourself by trying to “pose” her or him. What are your pet’s regular quirks you always remark on? For example, if they yawn a lot, try to capture a great shot of that behavior. If there are certain words or phrases that make your pup cock their head and give you lovey-dovey eyes, snap that, and so on.
Get Down at Their Level
Some overhead shots can be fun, but to create truly engaging photos, get down on your dog’s level. Some dogs don’t like having a camera pointed at them and might see it as a threat. A great way to get around this is to learn to “shoot from the hip,” where your pet can still see your face and read your expression.
Most dogs are more comfortable in the presence of their human loved ones, so be sure to include some heartwarming family portraits. Keep perspective in mind when composing the shot. Family group shots that include the dog look great when everyone poses on a staircase or the front steps, with your pet positioned front and center.
Take Amazing Action Shots
It’s challenging, but in a digital world you can take plenty of shots in burst mode to catch one or two that are simply amazing. If you’re using professional grade equipment, a long and fast lens is your best bet for focusing well on moving subjects.
Finally, don’t forget to “pay” your model with whatever works to keep them engaged. For some dogs, it’s treats; others have a favorite toy or want enthusiastic head rubs. Your dog will be more cooperative, and the shoot will be more fun!
Everyone loves having keepsake photos of their pets, so learning to take better pictures of your dog is a great way to preserve precious memories. With just a little practice, you’ll soon be taking photos that rival the pros!