So let's say you're on vacation or you decided to go on a hiking adventure with your dog. You want to get cute photos of your pup having the time of their life don't you? Or you want to get super cute photos of your dog enjoying a pup cone in the summer or wearing a new bandana from your favorite dog accessory business. Let's face it...you were probably chasing your dog down with your phone right before you sat down to read this. So, let me teach you some tips and tricks to getting better photos of your dogs with your phone!
Get Down! No not the dog...you!
First things first...you need to get low. And if you immediately thought of Lil Jon...hi we are best friends now. But seriously, my first tip would be to get down to eye level with your dog. For some of you, you might have to go down pretty far and for others, you can basically just crouch. It depends on the size of your dog. When I'm shooting with my camera, I usually have my lens eye level with the dog. Same goes for a phone camera. This will make a huge difference in the outcome of your pictures! Let's say you have a Frenchie. You'll more than likely need to lay flat on your belly unless you can crouch down real low and turn yourself into a pretzel. Now say you're like me and you have a Great Dane. We don't have to get down too far to be eye level with our dogs. Rules are meant to be broken though and some other angles that are pretty popular are when you take the picture from directly above your dog. The camera distorts the look of the dog and give them that "Hallmark card" vibe that makes you just want to boop their snoot!
Come to the dark side...
But not too dark. Next I want to talk about lighting. If you're outside, your best bet for a flattering photo of Fido would be shade! A lot of people snap photos of their dogs in the direct sun thinking more light equals better photos. It's not so much about HOW much light you have versus the QUALITY of the light you have. The shade will give a smoother look to your pictures with more even tones and no blown out highlights or harsh shadows. I'm going to throw a little secondary tip in here for those of you who are like me again and have a black dog...still take the picture in the shade, but you may notice your dog's coat looks a little blue. If you're editing the photos in a phone app like Snapseed or Lighroom mobile, you might notice increasing the warmth of the photo helps the blue color cast on your dog, but not on the rest of your picture. If you have the option in your app to mess with individual colors, simply bring down the saturation of the blues!
Window light is your best friend.
If you're in the house and trying to get a cute picture of your pup in his spiffy new bandana or collar, try using as much window light as possible! There is something about window light that just makes a picture gorgeous. *Chefs Kiss* That soft natural light will not only give you a crisp looking image, but will also balance out your highlights and shadows pretty well. Obviously the closer to the window you are, the brighter the image, so just be mindful of that. Especially with white or black dogs.
Have treats on hand!
This tip is great for multiple reasons. First, it gives your dog something to look at that will hold their interest. If you hold that treat up above your phone, most dogs will be watching that treat like their life depends on it. This is how you'll make it look like your dog is posing for the camera! Be quick with taking that shot though because if a dog isn't trained to sit there, they might break focus pretty quickly. That being said...REWARD YOUR DOG. Start off small. If they sit nice for a few seconds, tell them good and give them a treat. Then keep increasing that time. Next thing you know, your dog will be sitting at attention for a minute or more and you can focus more on making sure your angle is good and the lighting looks nice. I like to incorporate a command with this training. I will tell my dogs "watch" and they know to sit and look at the camera because when they do that, they get food. And food is life.
Flash is your enemy.
Using the flash on your phone is no bueno. Not only is it going to make the lighting look harsh, but you will 99% of the time end up with red-eye or pet-eye on your dog. And let's face it...nothing makes your dog look creepier than those lit up yellowish pupils. Avoid your dog looking like he's possessed by simply avoiding that flash. If you can't seem to get good enough lighting to brighten up your photo, they sell little ring lights that you can clip right onto your smartphone to brighten up whatever you're taking photos of! Brighter photos without the creepy demon effect.
Now put it all together and see what you can come up with! Get creative and throw some props in the mix or put some sunglasses on your pup! There are endless possibilities for adorable pictures that you could take of your dog. Plus, if you go on vacation or on a day trip, you can snag some lock screen worthy shots! Just never stop taking pictures of your dogs. They don't always have to be the most perfect, well thought out, amazingly edited photos to be special. It could just be your dog being their goofy selves! My number one tip that I could give you is to just take a picture when your dog is making you smile. When their personality is out in full force. Those are the best captured memories ever!
This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Phone Photography...,” check out Gretchen Ciccone with GCiccone Photography, capturing special moments. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.