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How to Take Better Photos of Your Pet

If you’re a dog lover like me, your cell phone is almost maxed out with photos of your pet! Some photos turn out better than others. Because they are unpredictable, pets can be difficult to photograph. Here are three tips to help you take better photos of your pet in between your professional pet sessions. I hope they help!

Tip #1: Get low!

Lay on your belly and shoot up with a wide angle lens to get the effect of a playful and majestic pup! When photographing Abby, I was literally laying on the wet ground. Using my 35mm lens, I got her to lay at the top of a small hill and I shot from below. From this point of view, I could include some flare from the setting sun and make her appear as if she’s the queen of the land!

Pet remembrance photography, pet photography, dog photography © The Dog Photog by Hayley Lawrence, Charlotte NC,

Tip #2: Shoot upward to minimize background distractions.

Stella, the Australian Shepherd pictured below, was a bit camera shy. For this reason, I used a long lens to photograph her. Since the sky was beautiful that day and the background was full of distractions, I used the long lens to add compression (make her seem closer to the sky) and shot upward to eliminate unwanted fences. Stella sat at the top of some stairs and her dad offered treats camera left.

Stella, the Australian Shepherd in Charlotte, NC. All photos © The Dog Photog 2016. Please do not copy, alter or redistribute without my permission.

Tip #3: Practice anticipating movement and use a fast shutter speed in natural light to catch wiggly pets in motion.

Some breeds, especially the “Doodles,” are quite energetic. Kemba, the Goldendoodle below, was a very fast-moving subject. No sooner was he in place before he was off again. Since I was shooting indoors, I made sure to have his mom entice him with treats to certain areas of the room that had the most natural light. Many times, we had to do this over and over again. Years of practice with kids and pets has sharpened my anticipation skills. Technical Tip: 95% of the time, I shoot on Manual Mode. I would not recommend using Auto or Aperture Priority to photograph pets. If you use any Auto setting, use Auto ISO. I used a higher ISO so that I could increase my shutter speed above 1/250 to keep my subject from being blurry. I can always increase my exposure in post-production, but if the eyes aren’t sharp, it won’t meet my standards to deliver to the client. The eyes are the window to the soul!


All photos © The Dog Photog 2016. Please do not copy, alter or redistribute without my permission.

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