See how dog photography can enhance your portrait and wedding images. Your clients will love adding their furry family member to their next session! (Photographs by CITYLUX STUDIOS)
You’re not a pet photographer; you’re a person photographer! And dog photography is its own genre that doesn’t have a thing to do with the magical moments you capture. Or does it?
Whatever your photography specialty, we think there’s room in your life – and in your pictures – for a few Fidos.
Not convinced? Here’s why we think pet photography is for every photographer!
Dog Photography Isn’t Just for Pet Photographers
Ask any pet-person, and they’ll tell you that their pet companion is one of the family, a four-footed fur-baby who deeply enriches their everyday existence. So if you wouldn’t fail to capture photos of a client’s human kid, why neglect images of their beloved pup?
Tell the whole story of your client’s one-of-a-kind family by including their doggo! Big and small, they’ll fit right into both classic portraits and candid moments.
Pets Help Their Humans CTHO
More and more airports are employing therapy dogs for a reason. Travelers are frequently anxious – even without the hassles of delayed flights and ill-conceived airplane food. Flyers soothe their fears by petting these happy hounds; why not share the same stress-relief with your clients by inviting their dog for photos?
No more frantic hair-checking and lipstick re-applying. Instead, your client can focus on their good boy or girl, chill the heck out, and truly enjoy their photography experience.
Photograph the (Furry) Feelings
“But I’m a cat person,” you say. Or maybe you’re just a not-a-dog person. That’s okay! You don’t have to “love” your client’s dog any more than you have to love their drooling baby or their cranky teenager. All you have to do is photograph your client’s good feelings.
You may smell dog-breath, but your client smells their sweet angel who’s been with them through thick and thin. Uncover the connection, and capture photographs your clients will treasure forever.
Dogs (Almost) Never Outlive Their Humans
It’s a devastating truth that pets almost never outlive their humans. Lucky for them, they’ll never know a world without their loving family! But the people they leave behind will never forget the unconditional love they enjoyed from their flop-eared family members.
Pet photography gives your clients a gift they’ll cherish even years after their pet crosses the rainbow bridge.
Pets Make Every Photo Unforgettable
Forget dumb jokes and awkward posing prompts. A pet gets the energy flowing with sloppy kisses, warm nuzzles, and hilariously untimely poops. (Have a few bags handy!)
If you want authentic laughter, huge smiles, and close cuddles in your pictures, mix a few pet photography ideas into your memory-making.
There’s No Such Thing as Bad Dog Photography
You may photograph a bad dog, but you’ll never take a bad photo of a dog! Just as your clients love every single photo of their new baby or the love of their life, dog parents can’t help but adore each and every shot of their pupper. Floppy tongues and wiggly butts only enhance the experience for dog lovers, so snap away – even when the moment gets wild!
Dog Photography Ideas For Your Next Photoshoot
Fur-loving humans consider dogs as part of their families, which is why they also book pet photography sessions. To help you capture creative and memorable pictures, here are some of the best dog photography ideas that will impress your clients and help you fall further in love with pet photography!
If you’re finding it challenging to make the pet still, embrace it! Dogs are typically active, so encouraging them to move might give you unexpected yet pleasing results.
One way to do this is to ask the owners to play catch and wait for the pet to pounce. Let the dog jump or catch a toy to show its playful side in front of the camera.
Eating and Catching Treats
Dogs love eating and getting treats. Since you’ll most likely bring some to get a pet’s attention during the photo shoot, you might as well incorporate the treats into one of your pet photography ideas.
Prepare something scrumptious for the pet, like bones or dog-friendly spread. Put peanut butter on the dog’s face, then wait for the dog to lick it off. This allows you to capture a wacky yet cute shot as the dog opens its mouth and sticks out its tongue.
Another pet photography idea is to throw a biscuit and see if the pet jumps or waits for the right moment to catch the treat. Either way, you will see the dog’s movements and focused expression.
Sleeping or Yawning
It’s not just for human babies! This is one of the best photography ideas for puppies, as it is easier to capture them in a relaxed state when they are really young. Since puppies tend to sleep most of the time, you can place them in fluffy beds, fabric, or any soft material that further safely accentuates the calming vibe.
Whether it’s a puppy or an adult dog, looking at the peaceful expression of sleeping dogs can make any person go “aaaaaaaaw!”
Another dog photography idea is to wait for the dog to yawn and capture the goofiness expressions on its face. While this one requires some patience and timing, being attentive will help you seize the moment.
Aside from putting the pet in interesting poses, you can enhance the photography setup by adding clothing, accessories, and props.
Dressing up helps break down stereotypes that surround certain breeds and help them look friendly. It could be pit bulls donning onesies, rottweilers wearing party hats, or even huskies rocking large funky sunglasses.
Likewise, you can try applying occasion-based themes when photographing dogs. For example, dress up the pet as Santa’s elf and surround it with Christmas treats and toys. You can also set up the dog with a superhero costume for Halloween.
Focusing on Details
Like in other genres of photography, one of the best ways to highlight a subject’s features is to get up close. Rather than showing the whole body of the pet, zoom in on some of the dog’s features and let those tiny details captivate the viewers.
Here are some pet photography ideas that focus on detail shots of your furry friend:
- Eyes: Similar to humans, the eyes are the most expressive part of a dog’s face. You can tell by a dog’s eyes if it’s curious or happy. Make sure the pet is looking straight at the camera, and you’re focusing on the eyes to create engaging close-up images.
- Hair: A detailed image of a dog’s hair shows texture. It’s like letting the viewers see the shiny coat or feel the fluffiness of the fur.
- Underbelly and Paws: A dog lying on its back is the perfect time to take pictures of the underbelly and paws. You can also place the pet on a glass table and shoot from below to get a different perspective. This angle will make viewers want to hold the pet’s paws or give some belly rubs.
Enjoying the Outdoors
Whether you’re in an urban garden, at the beach, or a countryside ranch, a photo of a dog outdoors in nature can be a great way to vary the location of your photo shoot.
Use flowers or leaves as accessories for eye-catching portraits of the pet. Gather twigs or sand for the dog to enjoy. You can also use water features as props, and let the pet swim around or dive for you to achieve quirky yet cute poses.
Acting Like Humans
Another creative way to photograph dogs is to make them pose or act like humans. For instance, arrange a bookshelf full of books as the background, put eyeglasses on the dog’s face, and have it look into a book, making it appear as if the studious pet is reading.
You can also dress the dog as a chef, complete with an apron! Surround the pet with real or toy cooking utensils, making it appear like the dog is cooking. You can even suggest to the owners to join the shoot, and let the family have fun on the set. There are so many fun pet photography ideas when it comes to various ways to humanize them in photos!
Interacting With Owners
There are times when the most beautiful moments come from common yet unscripted actions between the dog and its owner. Capturing the connection between the two creates heartwarming and affecting mood, ensuring that love radiates from the photo.
Take pictures of the dog’s longing expression as it sees its owners arriving home, the pet’s patient stance as it waits for its food, or the dog’s serene look as it snuggles with its favorite human. Moments like these, when photographed, will make great memories for years to come.
BONUS: Two Tips for Having a Hound on Set
Dog photography fans CityLux Studios shared these photography tips for capturing canines:
Arrange for an Assistant
“We love working with dogs!” say Sarah and Peter of CityLux Studios. “So many couples have them and want to include them, so we recommend that they bring someone along to hold their dog between shots, or to take the dog home halfway through the shoot.” This gives impatient pups a break from posing, and allows your human clients to focus entirely on one another.
Prepare for Naughty Pups
“Some dogs work great during shoots, and others do not,” admit Sarah and Peter. To ensure a great dog photography experience, have a few owner-approved treats on-hand, and never show up to a shoot without some poop bags. Owners should have these items themselves, but you should always be prepared so you don’t lose control of the session. Other handy items include:
- rag towel for wiping muddy paws
- jug of water and a drinking dish for thirsty pets
- and remember: in most places, on-leash is the law!
Do you offer dog photography to your pet-loving clients?
Share your tips in the comments below!
Written by ANNE SIMONE | Photographs by CITYLUX STUDIOS