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Four Great Tips to Make the Most of Dog Portraits

Do you love your dog as much as most people?

Do you want to play with them every chance you get? Do you work to keep them furry and fit?

If so, you may want to take a wonderful photo of your pet that will help keep them in your memories forever.

If you are new to the pet portrait game, there are a few considerations that you should keep in mind as you prepare for your pet’s portrait shoot.

Tip 1: Choose the Best Equipment and Software

Whether you are taking the portraits yourself, or you are hiring an experienced photographer to do the job, I recommend using the best cameras and editing software.

After all, you can’t get great results unless you use the best!

A couple things to consider when choosing your equipment:

Choosing the Proper Camera Equipment:

Since pets do not like to sit perfectly still for long periods, consider a digital camera that can take pictures quickly – I use a Canon 6D, however any good DLSR from Canon or Nikon would do a great job that you can pick up for a few hundred pounds.

Put some consideration into whether you want to use a flash. Obviously, a flash may be necessary if you are shooting in a darker environment, but also consider your pet's feelings!

This is a great option as instead of having the camera right up to your dog's face, you might consider hanging back, using your zoom and keeping the camera on the dog as it naturally finds that perfect pose.

Choosing the Best Editing Software

Often, the taking of the actual pictures is the easy part; editing is when you work your magic.

I’ve seen it many times - editing software can do wonders to turn even the most ho-hum shot into a portrait that will allow you to see your dog in a whole new light. If you’re feeling adventurous and your camera has the option try shooting in RAW instead of JPEG as this will give you more control when editing your photos.

My favourite editing software is Capture One Pro and Photoshop. Tell us your favourite editing software by commenting below.

A few functions that are essential in your editing software:

Proper colorcast correction: This feature is great when your photos come out with the wrong white balance or contain bad lighting.

Photo resizing capabilities: You will inevitably need to resize and resample your pictures in order to get your ideal results.

Special effects: Of course, you want to take a prestigious picture of your pooch, but once that is done, have a little fun. Throw in some special effects like giving the shot an old photograph effect or adding fun colors into the background.

Tip 2: Choose Your Vantage Point

Now that you have your camera, it is time to get down to business and decide which vantage point you want to take your photos from.

Of course, there are many different options to where you want to set up your camera to try and get that perfect picture.

Naturally, it all depends on the size, color, and patience of your pet but there are several choices available to you when it comes to the vantage point.

Try Taking it From Above

There are many experts out there who prefer the high vantage point. You might consider taking the photo from here if think that your presence is too distracting for your dog.

You can also get an action shot of sorts from this bird's eye view. While you are up above, encourage your dog to jump up towards you. You will be amazed at what the camera can capture.

Take the Portrait From Straight On

If you think the elevated vantage point is a little too artsy, get back to basics and get down to your dog's level.

Obviously, the best advantage of taking the photos from this level is that you can get your dog in all of its furry glory, and you’ll also have a better chance at capturing that doggy smile.

Staying down at your pet's level will also help it to stay more relaxed. This is already a strange circumstance for your pooch, so hovering above the dog might startle it.

Tip 3: Motivate your Model

If you could read the mind of your pets and make a list of things they like to do the most, posing for photographs probably wouldn’t make it into the top 20.

That is why it is important to motivate your dog.

Take what your dog likes most, his bone, a chew toy, an old shoe, and let the dog have it throughout the duration of the shoot. That will keep them still for a while. We have covered using tips on using toys and treats for a photoshoot.

Motivation is also a great way into tricking the dog into thinking that it is in control, which dogs love. By motivating them, you are telling them what to do...without really telling them.

Not only will you get some interesting pictures when your dog is at its happiest, but you will both find yourselves to be having a great time, and isn’t that what this is really about?

Tip 4: Consider Your Background

When it comes to taking pictures, whether it walks on two legs or four, it is essential that you take the background of your pictures into consideration.

There are a couple of reasons why you want to take some time considering your background:

For one, think about what you want to see in the background. Do you really want that empty coffee cup to have a permanent place in your dog’s portrait?

You also want to clear all distractions before you take your pictures. Sure, you want to bribe your dog by giving it its favorite treat or toy, but leave it at one.

If you are taking the picture of your dog in its favorite play area, full of all of its chew toys, treats and slobber obsessions, then you are going to have a long day of watching your dog do everything but stay still.

Save yourself some time and improve your dogs portrait by taking a few minutes to prepare the background.

Portraits You Will Treasure Forever

More than anything, it is important that you and your dog enjoy yourselves to the fullest as you take your pictures.

This experience is less about fine art then it is about enjoying the day with your best friend in the world.

Take your time, shoot tons of pictures, have a few laughs, and create memories that you and your pooch will remember forever and don’t forget to share them with us.

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