Top 5 tips when taking photos of your dog

Alex Cearns is a leading pet and animal photographer from Houndstooth Studio based in Perth and is She photographs over 800 beloved pet dogs each year in her photo studio and on her global travels.

She lives with two dogs, Pip and Pixel, and it’s safe to say she is a crazy dog lady, with dogs being her favourite animals.

“To me, dogs are love and light. They are always joyous and give so much back to us”, she says.

Alex shares her top 5 dog photo tips to help you take fabulous pooch pics.

Fun and Frivolity

The simple key to relaxed and happy pooch pics is to create an environment where your pooch can be relaxed and happy. Making sure your dog feels safe and at ease is the key.

Just like people, some dogs are active in the mornings, while others prefer to be up and about in the afternoons. Choose your dog’s optimum activity time and use it to your photo taking advantage.

Toys and Treats

Once you decide which motivator your dog will be most responsive to, use that to get his attention. If you wave a treat under your dog’s nose then pull it upwards, chances are he will look up at you and you can use those precious seconds where he is focused on the treat, to get your shots. Likewise, if a squeaky toy or tennis ball is his thing you can hold it near him to get him interested in it and then snap away while he is intently waiting for you to throw it. Be sure to offer regular rewards, otherwise you may find your pooch’s attention starts to wane.

The camera loves a good looking pup!The camera loves a good looking pup!Source:Supplied

Timing and Anticipation

Once you see the shot, grab it as quickly as you can. This is something you will get faster at, the more you practice, and the development of digital cameras means you can take as many shots as you need to in order to get the photo you are after.

Be Patient

Patience was the first thing I had to learn when I started photographing animals and it’s a crucial

factor when taking portraits of your dog. Repeating movements and words calmly and gently creates a chilled atmosphere for your pet.

I like to think of patience in dog photography as a three step process:

1) Calmly wait until your pooch subject does what you want

2) Take a burst of images to get “the shot”

3) If you miss the right moment, go back to step 1 and repeat

Backgrounds are always a major part of a shoot.Backgrounds are always a major part of a shoot.Source:Supplied


Perspective and Backgrounds

Be creative and experiment with different perspectives, angles and vantage points.

There aren’t really any hard and fast composition rules with photography — sometimes the most interesting images are off centre or a bit quirky. Take a series of images while lying on the ground and shooting from their point and view, or consider taking photos directly at their eye level while they are sitting up, or shoot from above, pointing the camera straight down at them. You even zoom in for a close up nose shot, or detailed eye image. Be sure to check your background for objects beside or behind your subject. Chairs, people, rubbish bins, light posts, other dogs etc can all ‘photo bomb’ your subjects and are things you need to watch out for.

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