How To Photograph Dogs

Many people love their pets like a family member. So, it is no wonder that they would want a professional photograph of their pets in their home! As a result, you could have clients asking for photography shoots of their canine companions.

How To Photograph Dogs

Dogs are cute and cuddly, and make for wonderful subjects for your images. You could get action shots of them running along the beach, or close up portraits to commemorate their lives and personalities. 

Whether you are a budding photographer, a professional, or an amateur, you can make use of our tips on how to photograph dogs. 

Dog Photography Preparation

Dogs have been the subject of photography for over 100 years! But it is not as easy as it looks. Dogs can be bouncy, excitable, and busy- so you will have to practice, use our tips and have lots of patience. 

Plan Ahead

The first tip is to plan ahead. Make sure that you schedule the shoot on a good day- and depending on what kind of shots you want to take.

For instance, if you want to take action shots, then you may want to pick a day where the weather is good for outdoor photography. 

Alternatively, if you want to take portraits of dogs, then it could be a good idea to consult with the owner of the right time to have the shoot, when the dog is tired or not as active, so it will be easier to take pictures without too much hassle. 

You should also choose an environment where the dog feels relaxed and not overwhelmed. Really busy environments can be too exciting for some dogs, so sometimes a photoshoot at home is more suitable. 

Think About Your Shots Beforehand

Dogs will not sit still for long, so it is a good idea to plan out your shots beforehand. Think about what sort of composition you want, which angles will work best for the overall outcome, and any equipment you will need. 

Have a concept ready, so that you don’t have to come up with one while the dog is there with you and waiting to go. Try different activities and backdrops to get a range of photographs.


Before you head to your shoot, you should also plan what equipment you may need. Will you need props? Will you be using a tripod? Do you need blankets to make the dog more comfortable and feel at home? Make sure that you go to the shoot fully prepared. 

How To Photograph Dogs – The Best Tips

Try Different Angles

It is a good idea to shoot at various angles and perspectives. You should also get down to the dog’s level to get a good shot. This can help you take as many photos as possible to have some variety.

Try taking shots from above, from eye level, or even down below the dog if photographing a larger breed. 

Go Close Up

Get creative with it. Try some close up shots of the ears or paws for an interesting picture. You should also focus on the eyes as these can tell a story and give more information about the dog’s personality and character.

Focusing on the eyes can demonstrate expression and make the final images more endearing and engaging. 

Use Fast Shutter Speeds

Let’s face it- dogs like to run around and move quickly. If you have a fast shutter speed, then you can have sharp, clear images, no matter how fast the dog is moving around.

We recommend using a shutter speed at least two times faster than the lens’s focal length. 

This means that if you are using a 50mm lens, then you will need to set your shutter speed to around 1/100ths of a second or even faster. Faster shutter speeds can freeze the scene and ensure you get a good action shot of the dog!

Use Natural Lighting

It is best to use natural lighting when photographing dogs, as flashes can spook them and create red-eye. Try shooting outdoors or with studio lights to ensure that your images are well illuminated. 

Try to choose a well-lit day if shooting outdoors, as overcast days may not provide even lighting. You can also boost your ISO if needed on a darker day, but we prefer not to.

Choose Location Wisely

We touched on this briefly above. You should shoot in a location that makes the dog comfortable. This can help them come out of their shell, and show off their personality for the photographs. 

Use A Low ISO

We do always recommend that you use a low ISO to reduce noise on your images. Try to stay close to 100, but if you are shooting in very low light, then you may have to increase the ISO slightly to keep a fast shutter speed setting. 

Use A Wide Aperture Or Low F-Stop

Try shooting with a low f-stop and wide aperture. This can help you keep a shorter depth of field, which will blur the background, but keep the furry friend in sharp focus.

A wide aperture will ensure that the dog is the main focal point of the image, and nothing else in the background. 

Always Have Treats/Toys

We have one final tip for you, but it is an important one! You have to have treats or the dog’s favorite toy handy. This can help you get them to stay still- by using a ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ command, and holding the toy or treat up for them to see it.

If you hold it near your camera lens, they will be looking into the camera and not moving. Then, you can take the picture quickly. You can also reward them with a treat or toy after taking photographs so that they can chill out after being a model for the day! 


To summarize, taking photographs of dogs is not too difficult once you know how. As long as you have a fast shutter speed, good lighting, and lots of toys and treats to keep the dog’s attention on you, you can take some amazing pictures! 

Laura McNeill
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