Dog photography

One of the first trouble of a dog photographer: the uncooperating model...

It happens always to anyone approaching dog photography. The model seems to move continuously, doesn't pose for more than 1 or a mid second maximum and often barks or tries to lick the camera. LOL!

And when you're going to have a session with a client that is not used to order something to his own dog, well... this is the worst situation you can meet with.

Here some of my suggestion... I'm an expert in dog photography skills as a greeter (handshakes and kisses on the cheeks), as expert toy squeaker, as a talented treat taster and so on... ;)

Labrador retriever puppy in garden

When dealing with small dogs or puppies...

- don't pretend a short photosession to be performed (it may take more than 1 hour to find a focused shot amongst quite a million taken);

- if you choose to bring with you the portable box with a white background, expect to bring it home dirty and pawprinted (better to preserve also lights and cables from accidental chewing);

- if you're lucky, your model will sleep almost all the time and the one and only good position will be a lying down sleepy dog without eyes;

When dealing with adult dogs...

- find a client that has a good compliance with his own pet;

- find a pet that hears his owner properly (LOL)...

to be serious:

- a motion picture camera setting is best; dogs are always in movement, so the best way to fix a decent shot is to perform the right setting on the camera, having the possibility to shoot serial pictures to choose the best one in postproduction;

- choose a correct background according to coat color, it's very difficult to take a decent shot from a black dog on a black background...

- choose the right light and never place in front of sun (I use to sit on the ground and shoot from a shadowed corner, also if the dog is under the sunlight);

- leave some empty space around the model, this will give it a greater importance on the final picture; never "trap" your model in a squeezy picture;

Male black dobermann sitting

According to the concept you may want to reach in your image, it is recommended to adjust the minimum possible exposure and colors, to let natural shapes and features be visible (nature is also imperfection).

Labrador playing outside

Some Breeds are easier to picture, due to innate steadiness, others require more improvement and practice.

Labrador playing outside

And last but not least, enjoy this time spent in a joyful way.

Debora Teresa Gattuso
View blog View portfolio
  • Epicmagnagraecias
  • Reggio Calabria, Italy
I'm a Veterinary Surgeon and Labrador Breeder, passionate photographer of everything regarding nature and its expressions.

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July 27, 2018

I love the regal stare of the Doberman and the playful tongue of the Golden. Captured their personalities in one click!


May 26, 2016


Nice pics

best regards


May 09, 2016

Amazing blog and images!


April 29, 2016

Great article and photos, thanks for sharing! I love dogs!!!


April 28, 2016

I love dogs and your dog pics are sooooooooo beautiful. Keep them coming.


April 28, 2016

Woof ! Nice Blog !


April 28, 2016

Thanks all, I try to be complete: there's also a serious article about naturalistic photography here. If u find it useful please, a tap on Useful star button on top is kindly appreciated.


April 28, 2016

Great blog, useful tips and cute results!


April 27, 2016

Dogs and babies just don't care !


April 27, 2016

great tips! thank you


April 26, 2016

Same with small children.
My best results were obtained when using a tele and giving the dog/child some space. A longer focus lens also isolates the subject from the background.
The upside of photographing dogs & children is that they are cute and the owners/parents will never judge your technique. They will say oh oh .. adorable.