If you’re looking for some brilliant photoshoot ideas with dogs, you’re in the right place!
While snapping adorable pictures of your furry friend (or someone else’s) sounds simple, creating a pet photoshoot you’re truly proud of takes some work.
After all, dogs aren’t always the most patient of subjects!
Having a range of dog photoshoot ideas to choose from will help you match your setup with the personality and style of the dog and its owner – and give you some backup options should things run amok!
As well as sharing a bunch of dog-friendly pet photography ideas and examples, we’ll also give you some pro tips for getting better shots.
If you’re a cat lover, you’re in the wrong place – see cat photoshoot ideas! For everyone else, let’s get our paws in…
Table of Contents
15 Dog Photoshoot Ideas for Great Pics of Your Pooch!
1. Frame them
Framing your furry friend puts all the focus on them. Just make sure that the foreground elements are blurred; otherwise, the viewer’s eye might be distracted.
(Using a wide aperture or long lens can help to blur the foreground or background.)
Also, by adding an element in the foreground, you create depth in the image. You can use something neutral like plants, or you can get creative and find something fun.
2. Dress-up time
Find some fun accessories to capture adorable photos of your dog. Make sure it’s something that’s fitting and doesn’t hurt them.
Most dog photoshoot ideas will include tons of photos of dogs wearing clothes or various accessories, and it’s easy to see why – they’re hilarious!
3. Build a scene
The scenery is another pet photography idea that makes the dog photoshoot more fun. Choose a topic and build an entire set. You’ll be able to get many photos out of it – you just have to get creative.
4. Use props to help the dog pose
There are only a handful of poses that you can do with a dog on the floor. This is especially true if your model is just a pup.
So, you can add props for them to climb on, lie on and interact with. This will get you more dynamic photos.
Check our article on props for newborn photography since many of them will be the same, especially if you’re photographing a puppy!
5. Do some action shots
Action shots add amazing visual interest to dogs and other animals. Make sure you use a fast shutter speed and that your camera is in burst mode. Then, simply start snapping.
6. Use soap bubbles
Puppies are super curious by nature. Start blowing soap bubbles around them and capture the moment. Dogs love things that float, and they should start jumping around, chasing them and playing.
Bubbles are a cheap and fun idea for your next pet photo session, so make sure to pack some in your camera bag.
7. Find his favorite spot
Every dog photographer in the business will tell you that you need to be flexible. If you try to force the dog to do action shots while they are tired, it won’t work.
In the same way, you can’t make dogs hold still if you don’t allow them to release their energy first.
So, whenever they fill tired, just let them rest. You can follow them to their favorite spot and make the best shot there.
8. Put something on his nose
Try putting something on the dog’s face and make that the focus point. You’ll have to be quick for this one. Most dogs don’t stand still for long when they have something on their snout.
Try and use a large aperture to blur the dog’s face, while focusing on the object – such as in the photo above.
9. Make some seasonal pictures
Using props, costumes, and scenery, you can make some fun seasonal photos. If you are creative enough, you can do one for each month to create a calendar.
10. Chewing a dog toy
Every pet photographer has a squeaky chewing toy in their camera bag. They are a great way to grab the pet’s attention, and you can let the dog play with them and capture an adorable photo.
11. Play in the water
Whether you can play in the water or just play with water depends on where you are. If there’s a location with a pool or a lake, you can get some amazing water photos.
Make sure to ask the owners if that’s OK first, of course. Otherwise, you can simply play with water, for example, using a garden sprinkler – any dog owner will tell you how much dogs love water, especially if it’s sprayed from a hose!
12. Use a wide-angle lens
Wide-angle lenses create distortions that we usually want to avoid. That said, you can get a creative shot by using a very short focal length or even a fish-eye lens.
13. Posing with the owners
Some of the best pet photography ideas include the owners. You can have the dog show their unconditional love and capture the emotions. Otherwise, you can ask them to pose and make a beautiful portrait.
14. Do a close-up
A close-up is a cute way to capture a dog. You can take a snap of the paws, the snout, the ears, etc.
Ask the owner if they have a favorite part of the dog’s body that you should capture in the photo. You can use a macro lens to get really intimate with the details.
15. Use a black background for a moody portrait
If you want to give the photo a classic look, you can use a black background. Then, use only one light to add drama to the portrait.
You can also create a black background in Photoshop if one isn’t available at the time of the dog photoshoot.
5 Tips for Photographing Dogs
We wrote an entire article on dog photography tips, but here’s a quick reminder for your next doggie photoshoot.
1. Get the right gear for dog photo sessions
A full-frame camera will give you a more detailed image and let you shoot in lower light. However, you can do great dog photography with a crop sensor camera since it usually doesn’t need to print too big. So, if a full frame isn’t in your budget, don’t let it stop you.
As for the lenses, you need a wide aperture. This allows you to blur the background and use faster shutter speeds. So, in a zoom lens, look for one that has a constant f/2.8 aperture. If you use a prime lens, you can get something as wide as f/1.4 or even f/1.8 at a reasonable price.
Wide-angle lenses aren’t very common unless you’re going for that particular look. It’s better to get a short telephoto, such as an 85mm or a 70-200mm.
Don’t forget to pack toys and treats in your bag. They are a must-have in pet photography.
You can check out what other pet photographers use by checking our their kits right here on this site.
2. Use the best settings to capture the best images
You’ll need a wide aperture to separate the dog from the background. So, use the smallest f/number available on your lens. You also need to consider the focal length and the distance. So, make a few trials to see which combination works best for your portrait images.
To snap a sharp image of pets, make sure you use a fast shutter speed. How fast depends on how much the dog is moving.
For example, to capture a dog running, you might need something like 1/1000 sec. If the dog is sitting, you can use 1/125 or 1/250 sec. That’s because you only need to freeze the motion of its breathing or panting.
The ISO should be as low as you can. If the light allows you to use 100, that’s ideal. This way, you won’t have any noise in your photos.
A very important camera setting for a dog photo shoot is the focusing mode. The best one is continuous focusing mode (AI Servo or AF-C), especially if you’re doing action shots. Use the eye-tracking mode if you have it.
Another basic setting for dog action images is the Burst mode. This allows you to take images in sequence for as long as you hold the shutter button. This way, you can be sure you’ll capture the perfect moment.
3. Position yourself at eye level
Putting the camera at a pet’s eye level will result in a cute and engaging photograph. It also helps the animal relax because they won’t see you as a threat.
If they are on the sofa, the bed, a chair, etc., it will be easier for you. Otherwise, you’ll have to get down on the ground with them. It’s all part of the fun of a pet photo shoot.
To get some inspiration on how your pooch looks when you’re down at their eye level, check out our guide to the best pet cameras – those things really capture pets up close and personal!
4. Change angles
While shooting at eye level makes for powerful portraits, you can change your point of view. This will add variety to your photos.
Photographing a pet from the top emphasizes their eyes. It makes them look bigger and sweeter. It’s also how we are most used to seeing our pets. So, this is one of the most popular angles in dog photography.
You can also experiment and shoot some unusual pictures. To get some inspiration, you can see the work of Andrius Burba. He photographs pets from underneath a glass table. The resulting photos are cute and fun.
5. Use treats to grab their attention
Treats are the best way to get a dog’s attention. If it’s not your dog, make sure you check with the owner first if this is OK. Also, enquire which treats you can use or ask for them to bring some to the photo shoot. This way, you’ll avoid allergies or dietary issues.
Another trick is to use toys or offer them rewards after every successful photo. This could keep them interested and motivated.
Dog Photoshoot Ideas: FAQs
How do you take a portrait picture of a dog?
A portrait picture needs to be sharp and focus on the eyes. Make sure you blur the backdrop to make the dog stand out.
What is the best lens for dog photography?
Fast lenses are the best for pet photography in general. This means an f/2.8 on a zoom lens or f/1.8 on prime lenses. Also, having a zoom lens is ideal to get a good variety of dog photos. So, you can have a 35 – 70mm lens or a 70 – 200mm lens, depending on the type of photos that you want to take.
How do you take multiple pictures of a dog?
You want to take multiple pictures to capture action shots. For example, of the dog running or playing fetch. To do so, you need to use Burst Mode. Each camera has it in a different place, so you need to check your manual to find where it is. It’s also possible to do it with your phone. In most cases, you can take multiple shots by holding down the shutter. This depends on your phone settings and the app you’re using.
How do I get my dog to look at the camera?
There are many ways to get your dog looking at the camera. You can call his name or make noises. Also, you can hold a toy or a treat on top of the camera.
Dog Photography Ideas: Final Words
I hope you like these tips and ideas for taking photos of dogs. For dog owners, a dog really is a man… and a woman’s best friend, so make sure you do the owners justice with some wonderful photos of their furry friends!
Let us know in the comments how you capture the perfect picture of a dog, and good luck at your next pet photoshoot.