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10 pro tips for capturing the perfect dog photo

Here's how to snap that Insta-perfect pup shot every time with 10 easy tricks.

Sharing photos of your pup being adorable is one of the many joys of being a dog parent, but capturing those split-second moments in their true glory can be tricky.

If (like us) your camera roll is full of attempts at getting photos that perfectly capture your pup's personality but don't quite hit the mark, we've enlisted the help of pet photographer and dog owner Keegan O'Neil - the talented lady behind Floofy Studios - to help us get that perfect shot every time.

And, as National Dog Day is just around the corner, these tips couldn't come at a better time as you are guaranteed to get that Insta-perfect pup picture to share on August 26.

So, whether you dabble in a bit of photography or you're a beginner with a smartphone, with these top tips, anyone can capture a photo they'd be proud to share!

1. Stay calm and be patient

Whatever situation is thrown at you while photographing your own dog, according to O'Neil, the main thing to remember is stay calm and be patient. "Every dog works at their own pace so patience is the absolute most important thing when working with dogs. Take the time to introduce yourself and condition them to any and all equipment that you are using and stay calm, as pups can read your energy!", explains Keegan.

"Don’t get stressed, annoyed or upset if the dog is not doing what you asked. Take a deep breath, calm yourself internally and try again, or try something different. You are photographing an animal, they don’t understand communication the way humans do!"

2. Get down to their eye level

In Keegan's opinion, this is the most flattering perspective for the dog and is the key to making your photographs stand out, and give them a more professional look.

"This will be the easiest way to capture the dogs eyes which are the most important part of the photo as they show most of the dog's emotion and personality."

"My top tip is to photograph your pup on chairs, couch, stools, stumps, benches, etc. to elevate them. Trust me, it will be easier on your back!"

Photo: Floofy Studios

3. Get to know the dog and what motivates them

Every dog is motivated by something different and according to Keegan, figuring out what this is right off the bat will make the session go by way smoother. And, in her professional experience, treats, toys or affection are the most common motivators.

"It's extremely important to be consistently rewarding the dogs for good behaviour/doing what you’ve asked them to do. This motivates them to continue to work with you. If you don't know what their “reward” is then the dog won’t be interested in you, so figure it out as early as possible!"

4. High shutter speed & good lighting

Shutter speed allows you to capture fast moving subjects and as we all know, dogs never stop moving!

"If you’re using a phone, simply find good lighting. A phone camera chooses your setting automatically, so if you’re in good lighting your phone will choose a high shutter speed!"

5. Move around, PLAY!

Play with your dog! This will not only build a stronger bond between the two of you, but it also makes (most) dogs more comfortable in the situation. "Movement is also great for photography as it tells a story. This is how I get all of our fun action shots - the pups are actually playing, and genuinely having a great fun time!

If you own a corgi, then this is a particularly great trick, as Keegan tells us that this is how she gets the “look back at it/corgi butt” shots!"

Photo: Floofy Studios

6. Learn dog body language!

Learning dog body language is essential to dog photography, even if it is your own dog. This will make you aware of how the pup is feeling throughout your shoot. Whether they become uncomfortable throughout your session and you need to take a break or they’re comfortable/ having fun and good to continue.

Never push the dog to do something they are uncomfortable with, it will not make for nice happy photos. Dogs are very expressive and you will see if they are uncomfortable or not in the photos.

7. Don’t hold the camera In front of your face!

"It looks like a giant eyeball to the dog and often spooks them!," Keegan tells OhMyDog!. "Start by placing it on the ground and sprinkling treats around it, conditioning them to the new piece of equipment.",

8. Get creative!

Dog photos should be anything but boring, and you can have a lot of fun with props to make your pictures really stand out.

"You can add props - glasses, flower crown and bubbles are my favourite - or try shooting through something to naturally frame your pet's face! Plants work great for this, but bubbles can also act a great natural framer!"

Photo: Floofy Studios

9. Keep your background simple!

"I think we can all agree dogs are beautiful, right? In my opinion, photographing them in front of a simple background is best," admits Keegan. “This way they are the focus of the photo and not blending into the scene behind them."

10. Have fun!

Keegan’s final tip for the perfect dog photo? "Don’t be so serious!"

"I find that dogs respond best to positive reinforcement and energy. Make it one big game, be goofy as heck! This will be the key to getting fun, happy go lucky photos of your pup!"

Keegan also explains that if you keep things fun and positive your pup will start to become excited every time they see your camera or phone!

"For real, my dog basically does back flips every time she sees mine!", she laughs.

Photo: Floofy Studios


WIN a Personalized Photoshoot Package for your pup

If you've been inspired by the tips provided by Floofy Studios, you could be in with a chance of winning a personalized photo shoot package with them for your pup.

In honour of National Dog Day, PawSwap is giving one lucky winner the chance to win a prize pack valued at $375, including: - A Regular Photo Shoot Package from Floofy Studios - 1 year of free PawSwap Premium Sign up below to be automatically entered into the prize draw, or head over to PawSwap's Instagram page to find more ways to enter. Contest ends on August 27, 2021.

Contest ends on August 27, 2021.

About Floofy Studios

Started in Vancouver by dog-loving photographer Keegan and her partner (and every dog's best friend) Steve, Floofy Studios has since moved into an RV named Louise full-time, and the pair along with their pups Susan and Bruce are currently travelling across Canada for photoshoots in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal before returning to Vancouver in November.

Photographer Keegan O'Neil with the 'Floofy' behind Floofy Studios


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