I do recommended getting pet portraits by a professional photographer, however you should be equipped to capture your own great images of your pet’s day to day life. Here are some tips.
Photos are such an important part of our lives, creating special memories and artwork. Isn't that why our phones are filled with photos of our family and friends and our dogs?
We want to hold on to as many of those amazing memories as we can! But unfortunately in dog's lives, while the days are long, the years are short. So my first bit of advice is to try to get a few professional portraits done in the life of your dog – perhaps a puppy session, then a young dog session and also a senior session. Why not consider a dog and family session as well, to show the loving relationship between your dog and his or her humans.
While it is important to get pet portraits by a professional photographer, you should be equipped to capture great images of your pet’s day to day life. You don’t have to invest in a great camera or a lot of time to take better photographs, but keeping a few tips in mind can go a long way.
Lighting indoors. Windows can be used to provide a great natural source of light. Position your dog facing the window so that the light falls on his face. If the window is behind, you will find that picture comes out with the dog appearing really dark.
Lighting outdoors. Try to avoid harsh midday sun which produces glare and harsh shadows. Move your dog into an open shaded area or choose late afternoon ( just before sunset) for softer light. Overcast days provide lovely even light as well. Notice how the first image has strong shadows and harsh light, while the next image of the same dog in the open shade is much softer and more pleasing.
Getting attention. Dogs are usually sound motivated. Use a whistle or squeeky, or make funny noises to attract their attention. It is best not to call them by their name as that will often get them running towards you. Use treats for attention – dog’s will usually focus on a treat for long enough to enable you to get a great portrait. Keep in mind that a sound will only work once or twice before a dog gets bored with it!
Check your backgrounds. Look for poles, trees, etc that appear to be coming out of your dog's head. A simple move in your or the dog’s position could be all that is needed to fix that problem. Try to get uncluttered backgrounds that do not compete with the dog in the picture. Placing your dog at a distance away from undesirable backgrounds is a good idea.
Focus. Try to focus on the dog’s eyes. But rules are there to be broken – focus on the nose to emphasize it just for fun, or capture just the dog’s paws or tail perhaps!
The most important advice
Always have fun! If you’re having a good time, your dog will, too, and your pictures will capture that happiness.