Your doggo is soooo cute! But how do you take aesthetic dog pictures? You know, the heckin’ cute photos of your furry friend that are so swoon-worthy your heart practically melts?
Today, my Goldendoodle dog and I are spilling the tea on how to get those aesthetically-pleasing dog photos that are Instagram-worthy, too.
Before you begin: Setting your dog up for photo fun
First, before you start snapping pics, let’s set you up for paparazzi success! And more importantly, make sure your dog is comfortable and happy in front of the camera.
Here are some things you can do before you begin taking photos of your dog to ensure he or she is comfortable and happy:
- Keep your pet photo sessions short and pawsitive! Your dog’s modeling should be fun for both of you!
- Observe your dog’s body posture. Is his or her mouth slightly open and relaxed? Tail wagging casually? These are all signs that your dog is happy.
- Help your dog feel more comfortable in front of your camera or phone. Allow your dog to approach your phone, sniff it, and investigate it on his or her own terms.
- Avoid using a flash as this can be startling for a dog.
- Offer rewards such as dog treats, toys, or verbal praise. These rewards help your dog feel more comfortable in front of the camera by associating good things with photo taking. Also, you may want to try using a squeaky toy to get your dog’s attention before snapping a pic.
- If your dog licks his or her lips, yawns, or looks away, your dog is trying to tell you something. According to Veterinary Partner’s article, The Body Language of Dogs, lip licking, yawning, and diverting eyes may be signs your dog is anxious. Since the whole purpose of taking photos is to capture happy moments, it’s time to stop if your dog shows any of these behaviors.
- Consider ways to capture lifestyle photos—pics of your dog just being a dog. Often, your pupper won’t even know you’re taking these unposed, natural pics. (You’ll find more ideas and suggestions below.)
10 photography tips for taking cute photos of your dog
Next, let’s combine our knowledge of dogdom with basic photo and design principles to create some winning formulas for pet photography. Here are 10 tips on how to take cute photos of your dog. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to capturing the heart and soul and personality of your furry bestie.
1. Put yourself at dog’s eye level.
Many dog lovers photograph their dogs by standing up and pointing the camera down at the dog. For a more emotional connection, try taking the photo at your dog’s eye level. So rather than pointing the camera down, get down on your dog’s level or even below your dog’s eye level and take the pic straight on.
BTW…This means you need to be prepared to get dirty or wet. I place a yoga mat on the ground when I take eye-level photos during wet, muddy, or snowy conditions. The yoga mat not only keeps me dry, but is also small, easy to maneuver, and easy to clean up afterward.
2. Focus on your dog’s eyes.
When it comes to taking photos of your pupper, the eyes have it! They truly are the window to the soul.
To put the “p’awww” in your pictures, make sure to capture your puppy’s expression with some close-up photos of the face.
For best results, make sure to focus directly on the eyes and not on the nose or forehead. Even the slight shift will move the focus away from the eyes.
3. Choose backgrounds that are simple or repetitive.
Your dog has so much expression, personality, and love all in a furry package. By keeping the background of the photo simple, you’re emphasizing your dog’s amazing features first.
Also, I’m a big fan of using repetition to help create perspective in a photo. The pic below shows how a repeat pattern (in this case a patio railing ) makes a great backdrop for a photo.
4. Use natural lighting—nature’s gift to photographers.
The sun is Mother Nature’s gift to the amateur photographer. You don’t need a special camera or professional lighting systems when you use the sun’s rays to light your subject.
I often open our front door to get more light in our home when taking photos.
5. Plan photoshoots during the golden hour.
Early morning and early evening are the best times of day to take photos. Many photographers call this time the “golden” hour because the light has a golden cast that bathes the landscape with warmth.
The golden hour doesn’t last long, though, so be prepped by heading outdoors just after sunrise (to capture the first hour morning light) or just before sunset (about an hour before the sun goes down).
On the flipside, when the sun is highest in the sky, there are harsh shadows that you’ll have to fight when taking a photo of your dog.
Overcast days can actually be your friend since the cloud cover provides softer shadows.
6. Catch them being cute: The charm of unposed photos.
Some of my all-time favorite photos are the ones that are the most natural…just my dog being a dog.
Keep your phone handy at all times to capture these unposed moments that tell your dog’s story.
There is a special charm that comes from simply recognizing “the moment” and being behind the camera to capture it. Here are a couple of examples of unposed photos…
7. Capturing the moment authentically is perfect too.
Life isn’t perfectly composed and our photos don’t have to be either! Just capturing our dogs being dogs makes a good photo.
For example, the photo below isn’t perfectly composed. But it captured the feeling of a soggy doggy day filled with dog romps and rolling in the mud. Eight muddy dog paws later, the dogs had had the time of their lives.
8. Use “portrait” mode on your phone.
If you want to keep the emphasis on your dog, try using the portrait mode on your phone. By blurring out the background, you’re focusing more on your dog and less on the environment. Note: Portrait mode works best for images where your dog is holding still. Action photos will be blurry in portrait mode.
9. Experiment with tone-on-tone or monochromatic color schemes.
Have you thought about how your dog’s coloring looks on certain backgrounds? Personally, I love creating a monochromatic photo using backgrounds that are similar to my red Goldendoodle‘s hair color.
For example, my dog is the color of cinnamon, so fall backgrounds of leaves are some of my favorite. It’s like she’s wrapped up in fall colors that become her.
10. Don’t forget the details.
Next, you’ve probably noticed the little details about your dog that makes him or her like no other.
Maybe it’s the freckle on your dog’s nose.
The curl of the tail.
Or long, swooping Goldendoodle eyelashes.
Or maybe the way your pupper’s two bottom teeth show when he or she smiles.
These are often the little things that you find fascinating about your dog. But have you captured these cute features in a photo? The little details are photo worthy too.
This photo captures the way my dog’s bottom teeth show when she’s happy (and how her beard curls up from her bottom lip). Maybe it will inspire you to capture a favorite or unique feature about your dog.
11. Experiment with post-editing special effects
Finally, after you’ve succeeded in learning how to take cute photos of your dog, it’s time to add the finishing touches by cropping, editing, and using filters. You can get really creative with filters, adjusting color or saturation, and playing with cropping. Many phones have dozens of filters along with photo editing tools, so you can enhance photos quickly and easily.
I like to add mood or drama by experimenting with warm and cool tones, vintage filters, and special effects.
Here’s an example of a photo before and after adding a warm filter…
Once you have finished editing your pics, you may be searching for the perfect caption to go along with it. Check out our list of 75 cute dog puns and dog play on words for inspiration.
Or, if you need to find that perfect word to describe your pupper, check out our complete list of doggolingo.
Happy photo taking!
Inspired? We hope so!
With these tips on how to take cute photos of your dog and with your furry pal by your side, you’re well on your way to filling up your phone with heckin’ cute photos of your pup. And, hopefully, you’ll fill up your heart with even more happy moments spent together with your furry pal. ❤️
What tips do you have for taking photos of your dog?
Please comment below.