All Things Dog

How to take great photos of your dog

If you were like most "new parents", you probably took a ton of pictures of your dog when he was a pup. While it's true, puppies are adorable, your older dog now has much more character and wisdom that can translate beautifully into film. And what better way to spend some quality time bonding with your dog than with a fun photo session. (By the way, not only is taking pictures of your dog fun, it's smart. You should always have a recent photo of your dog in the event that he is ever lost or stolen.)

Here are a few tips on how to take great pictures of your dog:

  • When you go to take pictures of your dog, make sure you have plenty of film. Professional photographers know that you rarely capture that perfect photograph with just one shot. Sometimes they shoot a couple roles of film before they find one image they're truly happy with.

  • Don't try and get your dog to pose - not only can it leave you end up feeling frustrated because your dog won't want to cooperate, but posed shots won't capture the true essence of your dog's personality. Candid shots of your dog running, playing, snuggling with the kids or dozing in the sun are much more real and memorable.

  • Have some toys and treats on hand. Dogs (like kids) can get bored of having their picture taken, so it's a good idea to break up the session with a bit of play.

  • Be aware of the background. If you have a black dog, you don't want to take his picture against a black background (unless, of course, you have an artistic bent and that's the effect you're going for!) And as is the rule when photographing people, watch out for trees or signposts or anything else that could appear to be growing out of your dog's head in a photograph.

  • Don't feel you always have to get your dog's entire body in the photo. Close-up shots can be very powerful and dramatic. If you have a zoom lens, don't be afraid to experiment with it.

  • Avoid the dreaded red-eye shots by taking pictures in daylight so you can avoid having to use a flash.

  • Experiment with black and white film. Black and white photos can be very emotional and dramatic, sometimes much more so than color photos. Try shooting one roll of color and one roll of black and white to see which format captures your dog's personality best.

  • Get down to your dog's level. If your dog is sleeping on the floor, get down on the floor with your camera. These straight-on pictures make you feel as if you're actually in your dog's world, rather than just viewing it from above.

  • Of course, once you've developed your pictures and chosen your favorites, you'll want to find a complimentary frame or photo album so you can show off your highly photogenic dog.
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