Taking a great photo of your four-legged best friend is easier said than done. They don’t want to look at the camera or phone, they don’t sit still, and lighting can be a challenge. So, how do you get the perfect picture that captures how adorable your pup is?
Train Your Dog to Sit
If you want to get your dog to take awesome photos on command, they need to be able to listen when you tell them to “sit.” Invest in a big bag of treats so that you can practice their “sit” whenever the urge strikes.
If your dog knows “sit” well enough, there is no need to train them commands such as “stay,” because they know they should stay wherever they are (and get their picture taken!) until they’ve received another command. You should pick a secondary word to release them from the “sit,” so that they don’t think they can run around after you tell them what a good boy or girl they are.
How to Get Your Dog to Look at You
No, it’s not your imagination, your dog probably doesn’t want to look directly at the camera. This is because eye contact is aggressive to dogs, and the camera lens can look like an eye to them. It may be easier to use your phone, rather than a camera if you have one so that your dog is more comfortable. If you prefer a larger camera, it may take a while to get your dog comfortable with it as an object, rather than a giant eye.
Whichever method you are using to take photos, you will want to start training your dog to look at the camera. You can start by training them that a certain command means “look at me” and add the camera in later. You can use phrases like “pay attention,” or simply “eyes.” If you want to be extra cute, you could even use “say cheese” as your phrase. Again, treats make everything go faster!
To speed things up, you can also buy an accessory that attaches a ball or favourite toy to your camera or phone. It may look silly, but it often works well for high energy dogs.
Practice Makes Better
Don’t expect your dog to be the perfect model overnight. It takes a lot of practice to be able to take a photo on command, so keep your expectations in check and make sure you’re keeping the experience fun for both you and your dog.
To start, teach them commands in a calm, distraction-free environment. Once they get the hang of things at home, you can venture out to a tougher area, like a park or even on a walk around the neighbourhood.
Timing is Everything
Timing can make or break a photoshoot. If you want pictures of your dog playing, make sure to take them before they have exercised. If you want the perfect lighting, go out around sunrise or sunset for the best natural light. If you want photos of your dog being cute and cuddly, time your photoshoot after a long walk or day at the dog park.
Keep it Fun!
Make sure “camera time” involves a lot of treats, and be patient with your pup. When you feel yourself start to get frustrated, take a break, or your dog may get anxious when you get the camera or phone out.
Remember that even if your pictures aren’t perfect, you’re capturing a memory, so make it a good one for you and your dog!
Take More Pictures than You Think You Need
Since you won’t be wasting film if you’re using a digital camera or your phone, take a lot of pictures. Most phones have a burst setting, which is great for capturing the perfect catch, or a silly shot of your Basset Hound’s floppy ears as they run toward you.
Remember, the most important part of taking photos of your dog is capturing memories, so if you find that it is becoming a chore rather than a joy, take a break! The best photos are often unplanned, and even if your dog is a little blurry, you will still be able to look back and remember what a great day it was.