How to take good photos of your dog

Have some photos of your superstar pet?  The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is hosting a I Love NYC Pets Month Photo Contest until Feb 28th.  Go here for more details on how to enter your dog and make him a star!  Winners will get featured on their website.  Just imagine – your dog as an ambassador to other dogs less fortunate and helping them get loving homes.  Plus, you’ll get bragging rights.  😀

Mayors Alliance Photo Contest

So how can we help our dogs look better in their photos? Stephanie Madeline, owner of Chase and Snap Photography in New Jersey has 5 helpful tips in making your dog look like a superstar.  Even if all you’ve got is a camera phone, show your dog some love and take photos that will make your friend volunteer to dog sit!

5 Tips for Photographing Your Dog

  1. Bribe – Time to bust out your dogʼs favorite toys and treats to get their attention. Squeaky toys work well most of the time, but be ready to snap quickly because they tend to get bored fast.
  2. Get Down & Dirty – Be prepared to roll around on the floor and get nose to nose with your pet. Photos that are at your petʼs eye level are more engaging than ones taken looking down at the dog.
  3. Set the Mood – Lighting is extremely important in getting good photos. Itʼs best to shoot a couple of hours after sunrise and an hour or two before sunset. Mid-day lighting is harsh and unflattering so if you must take photos at this time, try to find a shady spot under the trees. If indoors, try to find the biggest window that lets in the most light. Do not use flash as a lot of dogs donʼt like it and it gives them creepy glowing eyes.
  4. Go Trigger Happy – Take LOTS of pictures. During a typical two-hour session, I take over 500 shots on average in order to get about 50 keepers. Memory cards are inexpensive, so go crazy!
  5. Have Fun – Donʼt get frustrated if your dog wonʼt sit still for long. They can sense when their human isnʼt happy and it will show in the pictures. Itʼs just a dog being a dog! Many people ask me how Iʼm able to get the dogs in my pictures to sit still. My answer is I donʼt. The trick is to get the timing right when they pause for .5 seconds and grab the shot. You can also try getting action shots of your dog running. These are my fav!

For those who like to get technical, itʼs best to use a DSLR camera with interchangable lenses and fast shutter speeds are a must when photographing dogs. If using a regular point and shoot, try to set the camera to sports/action mode if it has one.

Thanks for the advice Stephanie! We hope these tips go a long ways in improving your photos and makes your dog proud.  If you have other tips or tricks, we’d love to hear them.  

Stephanie Madeline, owner of Chase & Snap Pet Photography is a New Jersey based professional pet photographer who specializes in on location, candid photos of pets in natural light. For more information, please go to

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