The perfect photography partner

comments 9

I’ve read a lot of photography blogs giving tips on how to take photos of pets. Dogs mostly. A lot of them say how difficult they can be to work with.

I have to say, I have never really had any difficulty taking photos of any of the dogs we’ve had as family pets. All three German shepherds. None of them were ever hard to take photos of. Though I have to say, that out of all of them, Cody is by far the easiest to take photos of. She’s such an attentive model!

Cody in the Garden

Do I have any tips?

From my own limited amount of experiencing pretty much only German shepherds (See photos of Cody, Axel and Billie, I’d say this for photographing dogs:

  1. Play with the dog a little. If anything, the play will tire the dog out a little, so getting a resting pose will be a little easier. Also, if you’re not all that familiar with the dog, it’ll spark up some kind of relationship. So the dog will relax with you a little bit. A relaxed dog is a lot easier to take photos of. That’s a given really! The photo of Cody above was taken after about 15 minutes of play. She was tired and just wanted a sit down. Perfect time for a snap.
  2. Watch the dog. At play and at rest. Get a feel of how they move if you want to go for an action shot. It’s hard to try to take shots when you can’t make any kind of prediction of what the dog’s going to do.
  3. You yourself, as the photographer, have to be relaxed. If you’re not comfortable, your model won’t be either. Like I said above, build up a rapport with the dog. It’ll relax you too if you’re not familiar with the dog.
  4. TREATS! Have a pocketful of treats on hand. A little bribery always works. Though if the dog’s not treat orientated, something else that grabs their attention. With Cody, she loves her little treats but holding a ball will grab her attention to you more than any dog biscuit could.
  5. Know the dog’s limits. I know Cody’s a very patient dog, but like a child, she too can get bored. Take a break here and there.
  6. Have fun with it. I love shooting Cody. Making it fun for her makes it fun for me.

Anyone got any other tips? My experience is kind of very limiting, so if you have any, feel free to share.


  1. Great tips Jaina! I did work with a dog once that was completely manic. It was was on the go all the time and was very difficult to photograph. I did manage to get a few good images of it though. Then again, they say never work with children and pets, but I love working with children and some of them never sit still either 🙂

    • With absolutely manic dogs the best you can do is hope and pray you get something half decent! It’s tough, but don’t you find that the tougher it is the better the reward? There’s a great sense of accomplishment when you know you’ve done something hard and done it well.

      • Absolutely! There’s nothing more satisfying and rewarding than when you get a gem from a tough session.

  2. I always have been curious about how some people have the “eye” for taking great picture and those are great tips. Someday, I might just venture into photography 😉

  3. I don’t have much experience photographing dogs, but on the occasions I have done, I think tip no.1 is incredibly important. Taking the time to build a connection between photographer and dog definitely helps.

    • Definitely. Once you build the connection you’ll be more relaxed meaning the dog will be too meaning you’ll be on your way to getting some great shots.

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