As a proud dog owner and a professional pet photographer I am always searching for ways to get my rambunctious models to sit still and pose for the camera. Here are some of my favorite things you will always find in my camera bag that are almost guaranteed to make your furry friend strike a pose.
Most people think of this lens attachment as a great way to get toddlers to focus on the camera lens. After trying a Camera Creature on just one pet shoot this has become my go-to secret weapon for transforming even the most energetic dogs into star models. The plush Camera Creature is not only cute–it also has a squeaker inside, and our four legged friends just can’t resist them! They are durable, but be forewarned, they may end up being your dog’s new best friend.
Knowing which leash to use when photographing your dog is always a challenge. You want control, but you also need enough distance between you and the dog so you can achieve the optimal composition and perspective. I like this leash because its solid black color is not distracting from anything else in the image. Although I use Photoshop editing to make the leashes in my images “magically” disappear, for those without this tool the Petsafe leash allows you to control your pup while still getting good images. Holding the leash with the full length available for the dog to run gives you a chance to catch your dogs as they are running about.
3. Peanut Butter, Smooth
Never underestimate the power of peanut butter. My trick when photographing dogs is to stick peanut butter (about a teaspoon for small dogs, ¾ tablespoon for big breeds) to the roof of their mouth. Not only do you get their goofy peanut butter licking faces, you can almost guarantee you will also have a second to snap a picture with their happy face on. I recommend continuously shooting while they are enjoying the peanut butter and waiting to review the images until the dog is done enjoying. That way, you don’t miss the smile shot while you’re looking at the lick face!
You can’t successfully photograph your pooches if they aren’t happy. Making sure you have an easy way for them to get water is very important and should not be overlooked. If you are on the go with your pet, this two in one, water and cup, is an easy way to refresh your dog in between pictures.
5. One size fits all?
Let your pet be your guide. Some dogs love taking a star turn in a costume, while others hide under the bed at the sight of a ruffle. I’ve had dogs cringe at a camera flash, while others don’t even notice. Chances are good that if your canine companion startles easily and hates thunderstorms, then natural light and outdoor action shots may be your best path to the perfect pet portrait.
A special thanks to Sarah and her Coton de Tulear, Roo, for giving us some great picture-taking tips. Now go out there and get snapping. Check out more of Sarah Faith Photography's work on her Instagram, and share your own photos with us on our Facebook page!