Dog Photography Tips That Will Give You Adorable Results

Do you love dogs but struggle to capture your canine on camera? Never fear, we have 10 dog photography tips that will help you create fabulous images.

Who can resist a cute canine? Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, but are they a photographer’s? If you have one in your family, you no doubt love taking photos of him/her.

But are you getting the best results? Here are our top ten tips on how to get adorable results with your dog photography.

1. Use a Fast Lens

Using a faster lens can get you bokeh as well as faster shutter speeds.

Dogs don’t hang around! Blink and you’ll miss their antics so it’s important to use a fast lens and a fast shutter speed.

My go-to lens is the 70-200mm f2.8 telephoto – it’s quick enough to freeze movement on those all-important running shots, plus you can zoom in and out quickly should you need to. It also pulls in the background nicely on shots.

Make sure you shoot at a high frame rate, otherwise you’ll miss out on those special moments.

Prime lenses are also good – 50mm or 85mm will work well. Be careful about opening up your aperture all the way down. Sure, opening up the aperture will give you faster shutter speed and lovely bokeh. But it might also blur parts of your subject’s face.

2. Create Bokeh Effect

Bokeh effect separates your dog from the background distractions.

The bokeh effect is pleasing to the eye. It separates your subject by blurring the background elements. This is especially useful if you are photographing the dogs in a visually distractive background.

Here’s how to get a bokeh effect in dog photography:

  1. Use a large aperture (like f/2.8 or f/1,4)
  2. Position the dog far away from the background.
  3. Use a Telephoto lens to enlarge/blur the background elements
  4. Move closer to your dog when shooting.

3. Use a Faster Shutter Speed

A dog photographed running to freeze motion.
Freeze motion by using faster shutter speed.

Dogs are active animals. So if you want to avoid motion blur in your dog photos, you should use a faster shutter speed like 1/400th of a second.

If your subject is hyperactive and is running around, it would be best to switch to shutter priority mode and take few shots with even faster shutter speeds–until you get sharp images.

4. Good Lighting Is Key to Good Dog Photography

Choose your lighting source wisely. Sunset or sunrise gives the best natural lighting for photography.

Photography is all about lighting. Dog photography is no exception.

Schedule your shoot during sunrise or sunset if you want that golden hue in your photos. If that is not possible, an overcast day is best as this provides even lighting.

If you must shoot in broad daylight, when the sunlight is harsh, try shooting in shade. Then play with shadows to get unique effects.

Tow dogs being photographed in shadow
Use shadows to avoid harsh sunlight in your dog photography

If you are indoors, shoot near a window to illuminate the dog.

Move closer to a window to illuminate your subject. Either you or the dog could move around to get the maximum impact of lighting.

5. Focus on the Dog’s Eyes

Focusing on eyes is key to dog photography. A puppey being photographed with eyes in tack sharp focus.
Your viewer’s attention is naturally drawn to the subject’s eyes. So make sure they are in focus.

Your dog’s eyes should be the focal point of your photo.

We as humans are hard-wired to make eye contact. Use this to your advantage in dog photography by focusing on the dog’s eyes. Doing so draws your viewers attention to your subject naturally.

First focus on the eyes and then re-compose as needed using the focus and re-compose method.

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