How to take perfect pictures of dogs

How to take pictures of dogs

Dogs have become real family members over the last 10 years and taking perfect photos of them has become a necessity especially with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram where we want to post the perfect photo.

In order to obtain the perfect photo, we need to be reasonably good with our photography skills but our dogs also need to put in some of the work.

Photography Skills

First we will go through the main points you need to consider when composing that perfect photo:


If you are taking your picture on a camera phone the quality may not be as good as an actual camera.  To try and achieve the best from your camera phone take photos outdoors in open spaces.  Ensure that there is as much light as possible surrounding you and your dog.

If it is really bright sunshine, try and find a shaded patch but ensure there is still brightness all around you.  If your dog is in a shaded area such as under a tree this will help prevent the photo from becoming overexposed.

Grid lines

You may be able to set up grid lines on your camera to help balance your shot.  This can be really helpful with composition as you must imagine your photo divided into nine equal parts using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines. The rule of thirds states that the most important elements in the scene should be placed along the gridlines or at the intersections where the lines meet.

Focus on one spot

Ensure that your dog is focused as this is the part of the photo you want to draw the viewer into.  If you are able to use a low aperture and place your dog a fair distance from the background, this will help create a blur behind them.

Training your dog for pictures

Now this is slightly more complicated especially if your dog is the type that cannot be bribed with too many treats. 

Sit and stay

Training your dog to sit and stay for as long as required will allow you to really have a go at shooting in many different angles until you think your composition is perfect.  Ensure your dog has breaks and is rewarded after for all their hard work.


If you take a treat and put it in front of one of your eyes and say ‘look’ until your dog looks you in the eye and then give them the treat, you are teaching them to look directly into your eyes.  Once this training is a success, whenever you need your dog to look directly into the camera you will just have to give them the command to ‘look’.

Tips – make sure you can see your dogs eyes.  This is such a big thing with photography.  If you can focus on their eyes the photo will speak for itself.  If you cannot see your dogs eyes, they probably also cannot see where they are going!

Props can sometimes make a photo more fun and stand out.  Some dogs love to work with props as they really enjoy the job in hand.  Others are not so keen and if they look uneasy it is best to not bother with props.

Have your dog do something that they really enjoy so that your photo shows this.  They may love to run around with a ball, play with their other dog friends or just love to be trained.

If you really enjoy taking photos of dogs as  you are finding photography interesting or perhaps you and your dog are enjoying different types of training to get those perfect pictures, it may be worth looking at photography courses which will teach you all the basics of photography or an animal behaviour course which will help you to understand your dogs mind. You can also study with an online learning college so that you do not have to attend a conventional college and this will give you greater flexibility.


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