Dog Photography

7 Pro Tips from Jen at Fetchlight Pet Lifestyle Photography
How do you get your dog to smile in a photograph?

Walk or run them so they are panting. Panting dogs = smiling dogs! (But be careful not to overheat them if you are vacationing in a hot climate!)


How do you get a restless dog to sit and stay?

Exercise is the best answer for this question, too! Take your dog on a walk or run before asking them to pose for photos, especially if you’ve been on the road for a while and your dog has been sitting in a crate or in the car for hours. Treats are also helpful for motivating many dogs to sit and stay. Note: If you’re planning a trip with your dog and you know that you’ll want photos of your dog sitting still, it may be time to practice their sit and stay commands at home before testing out their skills in a new environment with lots of distractions around!

How do you get your dog to look at the camera?

Treats win, once again! Hold something your dog really wants next to the camera, whatever motivates your dog enough to focus on you. Squeaky noisemakers are also helpful if treats are TOO enticing (The plastic squeaker from inside squeaky toys is small enough to hold in your palm while photographing, but don’t let your dog steal and swallow it). Other options include making weird sounds with your mouth (like a smooching kissy noise) and using iPhone apps that make weird animal noises or dog whistles. Your dog may tire of one kind of treat, or one kind of noise, so switch things up every few minutes. Calling their name may make them come to you instead of just looking, so saying a favorite word like “treat” may also help them to look at you.

Any tips for showcasing a scenic backdrop?

Backgrounds featuring signs or landmarks may be tricky if it is a popular destination filled with people, since dogs are shorter than most people and the people may be blocking the sign or landmark when you bend down to shoot from your dog’s eye level. So look for something safe and sturdy for your dog to sit or stand on, such as a bench or staircase (or rock!), which will help get them up above the crowd. Even if there isn’t a crowd, having dogs sit, stand or lay on a bench or table will make it easier to include those background elements that show viewers where you are, without you having to lay on the ground to get them AND your dog into the photo!


What are the common background mistakes that ruin a shot?

You want to watch out for trash cans or litter in general in the photo, and check that telephone poles or other background objects don’t look like they are sticking out of your dog’s head or body. Also look for places to photograph where the light on your dog is the same brightness as the light on the background, or where the background is a little darker than the light on your dog, to make sure the background doesn’t turn completely white from too much brightness (and then your friends won’t be able to tell where you are on your journey!).

What is the best light/time of day to photograph your dog?

It really depends on your location, which direction your dog is facing and what may be blocking the sun such as trees or buildings. Early morning and an hour or two before sunset can be beautiful if the weather is clear and nothing is blocking the sun. When the sun is at a lower angle in the sky, the lighting always looks better than at mid-day when the sun is directly overhead. For cloudy, overcast days, the time of day doesn’t matter as much and it may be easier to capture a photo of your dog looking good as there are less harsh shadows, though the background colors will be duller when it is cloudy. The ideal is to have your dog looking in the direction of a sunny sky as this creates create nice catchlights in their eyes to make them sparkle. If you’re indoors somewhere bright enough to get a non-blurry photo, have your dog look in the direction of a window or light to get that sparkle in their eyes.

Any tips for action shots?

Make sure you have enough light, then the photos won’t be blurry. Also take A LOT of photos during dog action time, then review them to choose the best one. In fact taking a lot of pictures is always a great strategy!





Do you have any great Dog Photography Tips you would like to share?


  1. Comment by bully sticks

    bully sticks Reply June 4, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Thank youfor writing this article. I’m a long
    time reader but I have never been so inclined to actually
    comment. Please continue with the awesome posts! Cheers!

  2. Comment by Susan

    Susan Reply August 15, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    I didn’t realize that panting = smiling … I can’t wait to try this tip … THANK YOU!!!

  3. Comment by Zil Parekh

    Zil Parekh Reply July 12, 2017 at 12:55 am

    That is such a useful guide… Totally nailed it.. THANK YOU:)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Go top