If you follow our blog, you know that we are crazy obsessed with our chihuahua Joey. I mean, look at him, you would be too! We know we are not the only ones who consider our dog part of the family, which is why we decided to write this blog post about how to photograph your dog. Here are some of the tips we use to get those perfectly un-perfect portraits of our hairy child. We are not professional photographers by any means, but these are things that have worked for us in the past 4 years with our dog. We hope it helps!
Tip #1: Make sure your pet is comfortable.
Yes, doggie clothes is super cute, but nothing is worse than a miserable looking pooch. Some dogs like to wear clothes and some don't. If your dog doesn't like it, don't push it. Try a printed collar or bandana instead. Every dog is different. For example, Joey doesn't mind wearing shirts, but he draws the line with pants and sometimes even hats depending on his mood. We were able to capture the shot above right before he shook it off. Also, consider the weather and environment. If there are other dogs around the area, he may feel intimidated or want to play. If it is too hot, he may get overheated. Find a comfortable location for both of you.
Tip #2: Don't jump right into taking photos.
Show your dog some love before you whip out the camera. Play for a bit and let him or her burn off some energy before you make them stay still until you get that perfect shot. After all, all they want is your undivided attention. Joey is a lot more willing to cooperate on his terms. If he gets a little restless, we usually stop taking photos, play with him a little more, then resume.
All photo shoots require photography assistants and this one isn't any different. However, in this case, your assistant will really play the role of dog entertainer. It's best if you concentrate on taking the photos and have your friend, husband/wife, kids, etc. grab your dog's attention for the shots. Make sure they bring Fido's favorite squeaky toy and have them make high-pitched sounds to get priceless facial expressions on your dog. Try not to make too many noises yourself. It is better if they are unaware of your presence, although some dogs (Joey) love the camera.
Tip #4: Take lots and lots of pictures.
This is a good tip when taking any photography. If you don't like how it comes out, you could always delete it later, but at least you have a lot to chose from. Some of the best pictures we have of Joey were captured when we least expected them to happen. Use your zoom lens and take a variety of shots at different angles.
Tip #5: Get creative.
Think about the backdrop and props. You don't want to take away from the beauty of your pooch, just enhance it. It best not to use flash when photographing animals. It could spook them or create red eye on the photo. Natural light is always best. Get eye level with your dog, even if that means laying on the floor. This makes for unique photographs of your dog.
Tip #6: Relax!
Be patient and most importantly, have fun with it! Remember, dogs can sense your energy - have a positive attitude.
Tip #7: Reward them.
Always reward your pup with treats and hugs after a photo shoot. Being cute is hard work!