What recordings should a dog have

“Say cheese!” To put dogs in the right light on command and to photograph them from their best side is not that easy. Here you can find out how you can still motivate your dog for a photo shoot and which professional tips you should heed for a successful dog photo.

Why are dog photos so popular?

Dogs have a permanent place in the lives of their human owners - and this also applies to the space on the photo wall. After all, we humans like to capture loved ones on camera to keep them in mind, to enjoy them for a long time and so that we can share them with friends and other family members. No wonder that dogs and cats are among the most popular photo motifs after their own children. But dogs - just like small children - usually have better things in mind than keeping still and hoping for a good self-portrait. And before the photographer can press the shutter button behind the lens, the dog has run away again and the pretty photo motif has disappeared.

What do i need to take a nice dog photo?

So, above all, you need patience to take a nice dog photo of your beloved fur nose. But even the longest thread of patience can break if the dog is constantly moving, the pictures blur, the light is too dark and only the dog's tail can be seen on the printed photo - or if the camera fails at the crucial moment and the memory card is full. But before you leave the camera annoyed in the closet again, read the following 10 professional tips. Don't worry: in order to take a perfect dog photo, you don't need to be a trained photographer or own outrageously expensive photo equipment. If you know the following tips for correct preparation, suitable camera settings, good lighting conditions and the best formats and perspectives, you will be able to take beautiful pictures of your dog even with your smartphone or a small compact camera.

Tip 1: good preparation

When we see how the dog chases powerfully across the meadow, his fur is majestically illuminated by the sun or he puts on his irresistible begging gaze, we would like to capture these moments with the camera immediately. In order for this to work in the future, it is important that you prepare a little for your new "hobby". Because if you first have to look for how the camera works, where the appropriate photo mode is set or how the exposure can be optimized, you will miss the most beautiful motifs. Regardless of whether you want to photograph your dog with a reflex camera, a small compact camera or even your smartphone: It is important that you are familiar with the basic operation of your device. The most expensive and best camera is of no use if the photographer cannot handle it.

If you don't just want to take photos with a mobile phone camera, but prefer to use a digital compact or SLR camera, you should at least know where automatic camera settings such as portrait mode, sport mode or the series picture function can be set. If you want to go a little further, you should study technical terms such as shutter speed, ISO sensitivity and aperture. What may sound complicated at first is not that difficult with a little practice and gives your photos the finishing touch. But even if you only have one smartphone at hand, it is worth taking a closer look at the functions of the integrated mobile phone camera. If, in your opinion, these are too limited, there are now a number of good apps that expand the possibilities of taking photos.

Tip 2: Searching for a location and choosing a motif

At least as important as a certain basic know-how in operating the camera is to think in advance how and where you would like to photograph your own dog. If you want to improve your photography skills, you should - in addition to the numerous mobile phone snapshots in everyday life - also carry out planned "photo shoots" with your dog, during which you can try out the various camera settings, different perspectives and formats in peace. In the beginning, a more secluded place is best, where you and your dog are not disturbed by cars, motorcycles or other dogs and people. A large, lonely meadow, an open field or a river bank also look good on the later photos. Because even if your dog is the focus as a photo model, what is behind it is also decisive. A restless background with cars, people, an unsightly skyscraper or power pylons can spoil every successful photo of the dog. If you prefer to photograph your dog at home, you should go into your own garden if possible and photograph your dog in front of the green hedge. Taking pictures in the apartment is usually more difficult due to the lighting conditions and therefore requires a little more practice.

Tip 3: motivational aids and the right time for your dog

You have found the perfect location for your first dog photo shoot, have driven a few kilometers out of town and now your dog is on strike? Such a situation is not uncommon, because which dog is interested in taking beautiful photos of itself? It is much more exciting to sniff around in the area, to frolic across the meadow or to chase a rabbit. If you have a dog who knows the basic commands such as sit, walk or sit down, it is of course a lot easier. However, the look of your dog on the later pictures will reveal if he actually wanted to do something completely different and was reluctant to "sit". To avoid such an annoyed facial expression, you should consider the following points:

• Let your dog do its business before the shoot and allow it to let off steam a little beforehand - of course not so much that it just lies around panting in the later pictures, but at least enough that its basic need for movement is satisfied for the time being and he can get involved in your project with the necessary concentration and curiosity.
• Give your dog a break after eating to digest and take a nap and postpone the planned photos to a later date.
• Basically, if your dog is physically and mentally busy and knows that you take his needs seriously and offer him enough variety, the more he will be willing to work with you and to please you.
• So that your dog can still have fun on the photo excursion after the tenth photo, you should have a few treats or his favorite toy in your pocket. If your dog notices that he is being rewarded for taking part well with treats, petting or his favorite game, he will surely pose in front of your camera with even more enthusiasm.
• End the shoot as soon as you notice that your dog is losing fun or seems overwhelmed. Praise him once more and give him a treat for having done so well up to that point. Then he'll look forward to you picking up the camera again on another day.

Tip 4: Lots of light for beautiful dog photos

The right exposure is the be-all and end-all when taking photos. Many shots fail because there is insufficient light. For beginners, it is advisable to take the dog photos outside in the open air - this usually looks much nicer and more natural on the later photos than photos that were taken inside the apartment. The sunlight outside not only makes the colors of nature shine, but also the fur of your dog model. Most of the time, the images are also sharper, even when your dog is moving, because natural sunlight allows short exposure times. But be careful: Too strong sunlight, for example in the blazing midday sun in summer, should be avoided. Not only is this too hot for your hairy fur friend, it's too harsh for most cameras. The colors in the photos then often appear lifeless and the extreme light creates unsightly shadows.

The best time to take pictures in the open air is therefore in the early morning hours or towards evening, when the light becomes softer and the high proportion of red ensures warm colors and soft shadows.

Of course, recordings under cloudy skies, fog or storm clouds are also very interesting. The darker the sky or the surroundings (this also applies to taking pictures in a shady forest), the more light the camera must be able to absorb when taking pictures. If you take photos with a good compact camera or a single lens reflex camera, you should try to increase the shutter speed (e.g. 1/320), increase the aperture (e.g. 2.8) or set the ISO value high. If you are unsure, just try different settings. With a little practice, you will soon find out which mode will give you the best results.

Tip 5: sharp eyes, blurred background

Dogs have an irresistible look - and we want to see it in the photos. It is therefore essential that the eyes are razor-sharp, especially when taking portraits. There should also be a light reflex in the eye - the dog's gaze should therefore ideally be directed towards the light source. When taking portraits, get as close as possible and use the camera lens to focus your dog's eyes. Your dog's pretty face and gaze are even more effective when the background is out of focus. To do this, professionals set the aperture to the lowest possible number (mode A or AV). At a value between f2.8 or f3.2, the aperture is wide open and the depth of field is therefore smaller. So the background looks blurry while your dog is in focus in the foreground.

For all those who have not yet tried manual photography, but still want to take beautiful portraits of your dog, we recommend the portrait mode, which is easy to set on most digital cameras (usually the portrait mode is marked with a head symbol). Some smartphones are also able to take corresponding portrait photos with a blurred background. If this mode is not available on your smartphone model, you can also download appropriate apps for reducing the depth of field. Or you can blur the background with an image editing program or app afterwards.

Tip 6: At eye level with the animal model

If you don't have a Great Dane at home, you are probably significantly larger than your four-legged friend. So if you stay upright when taking pictures, you will inevitably take a picture of your dog from above, i.e. from a bird's eye view. However, this perspective is not recommended for animal photography, because really good animal photos only convince us if they reflect the animal's perspective. After all, the pictures are about the dog and so you should definitely be at eye level with your dog. You can sit down, kneel down or raise your dog yourself to an elevated position, for example on a tree stump, a rock or a small embankment.

The proportions of your dog are also hardly distorted in a horizontal photograph. With small dogs, such as a Chihuahua, you can of course also try out the low angle view by lying down with the camera on the floor and photographing your dwarf dog from below. This is how the little guy makes it big in the photos!

Tip 7: This is how you can take portraits

Get close, be at eye level and focus the dog's gaze while the background is blurred - these tips described in points 5 and 6 are particularly important in portrait photography. A shallow depth of field due to a wide open aperture (= low f-number) is an extremely popular effect in portrait photography, because it puts the model - regardless of whether two-legged or four-legged - even more in the foreground. Corresponding manual settings (e.g. f-number F1.8) or the portrait mode will help you with this. Basically, the eyes, ears and muzzle of dog portraits should be sharp - everything else can be blurred.

Portrait photos in which the dog looks directly into the camera and the dog's loyal gaze is captured from the front are a real eye-catcher. This is of course easier said than done, because the curious four-legged friends often look everywhere but not at the camera. But there are a few tricks you can use to get your dog's attention to yourself. If your dog has a good basic obedience, of course this works well with the help of a certain command, but even with this it is not always guaranteed that your dog will look at you directly after you have "sit" or "sit down". Treats that lead you in the direction of the camera lens can help - however, some dogs are so intent on running towards the camera drooling and of course you want to avoid that. Sounds that your dog does not yet know and that attract his attention work better. This can be, for example, unknown animal noises that you either imitate yourself or play back via a smartphone app. If your dog hears the strange noises, he will probably look attentively in the direction from which they came - and then all you have to do is pull the trigger at the right moment.

 But even if your dog is not looking directly into the camera, you can still take good portraits. Especially the dog's face from the side perspective, where the dog lets his gaze wander into the distance, often looks very interesting and noble. However, you should make sure that there is some space between your dog's eyes and the edge of the photo. There should always be a little more space where your dog is looking than on the other side of the picture. In general, you should not place your dog exactly in the middle. Photos look more interesting when the subject in the foreground is a little to the side. To do this, you can mentally divide your image into two horizontal and two vertical lines in 9 equal-sized rectangles (some cameras also offer such orientation lines on the display). When taking portraits, your dog's face should be roughly where two lines meet.

Tip 8: photograph your dog in action

Photos in which your dog is running or jumping appear particularly dynamic. If the photographer succeeds in freezing the face of a dog running towards him with the camera, we discover grimaces on our four-legged friend that we would otherwise miss. But it is well known that it is not so easy to “focus” on dogs while they are in motion. The contours are quickly out of focus, the picture blurred or the decisive moment, for example in jump pictures the moment when the dog is in the air with all four legs, is already over.

In order to capture fast movements with pinpoint accuracy, it is important that the shutter speed is as short as possible. While the camera needs a moment in normal mode to catch the light of the environment, to focus and to freeze the image, it reacts immediately at a high f-number (between f3.2 and f4.5). The problem is that this also leaves little time to let light fall into the camera. To counteract this, you will probably have to adjust the ISO value of your camera as well. Sometimes it takes a little time and practice to find the right ratio between aperture and ISO number and to get optimal motion pictures.

Fortunately, most digital cameras and smartphones these days have shooting modes that make it much easier for us to take pictures of movement. For example, you can set the sport mode with simultaneous serial picture recording. While your dog is allowed to run around and play to their heart's content in a meadow or on the dog sports field, just keep your camera on it. Even if sorting the resulting flood of images takes some time, it's worth it: Because with so many images there is guaranteed to be one where you have perfectly captured your dog in action.

Tip 9: the right styling for your dog model

We want to look good in photos - and that also applies to our animal models. A dog whose fur hangs down unkempt and dull, who still has sleeping sand in its eye or who may have leftover food stuck to its beard is not necessarily a beautiful motif. Before you reach for the camera, it is better to pick up a cloth and brush. Clean your dog's face, remove drool and dirt and brush his fur - this gives especially long-haired four-legged friends a special shine, which you will also see in the photos. At the same time, of course, you can also remove the collar and replace it with a nice dog scarf, for example. Pay attention to the details and think about beforehand how you would like to show your dog - in its natural beauty or perhaps adorned with beautiful accessories? Try out which motif you like best and what suits your dog's character best.

Tip 10: Practice makes perfect

You now know a lot of tips on how to put your dog in the spotlight - but of course the theory may not work as it should in practice. But don't give up straight away - after all, no master has fallen from heaven! Depending on previous knowledge, talent, camera equipment and dog model, it sometimes just takes a little time to achieve the desired image quality. Don't put too much pressure on your dog or yourself. The most important thing about taking pictures is that you both have fun with it - if you see that in the later photographs, the pictures of your dog will be all the more beautiful.

 With this in mind, we wish you a lot of fun photographing your beloved fur nose!