Tips for Photographing Your Dog with Your Mobile Phone

May 23, 2024

For many of us, our fur babies are an important part of the family. It stands to reason then that we would want to make some wonderful memories of our time with them, and photography is a great way to do this. Mobile phones have advanced to a stage where we are able to capture some stunning images of our furry friends, so I thought I’d write this blog to give advice on doing just that. Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android, there are plenty of ways to ensure your pet looks their best in every shot.


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Here are some tips on lighting, composition, location, and specific settings for both iPhone and Android users to help you capture those perfect moments.

1. Lighting

Lighting is crucial in all photography; the word ‘photography’ literally means ‘drawing with light’ which, if you think about it, is exactly what a camera does.

Natural Light: Use natural light whenever possible. Early morning or late afternoon is a great time to photograph your dog, as the light then tends to be soft and warm. If possible, avoid harsh midday sunlight, which can create strong shadows and unwanted highlights.

Avoid Flash: Unless you have a dog who has grown accustomed to being photographed in a studio setting (like my own gorgeous fur baby!) flash can startle your pet and also cause those demonic red-eyes. Instead, use additional steady light sources like a lamp, or move to a well-lit area.

Indoor Lighting: If shooting indoors, position your dog near a window to take advantage of the natural light coming in. You can also use a white sheet or reflector to bounce light back onto your dog’s face.

2. Composition

A little thought about composition always helps create engaging photos. 20200801_13401820200801_134018

Eye Level: Get down to your dog’s eye level for a more intimate perspective; this is also a great way to capture your dog’s personality.

Rule of Thirds: Use the rule of thirds to make your photos more dynamic. On your mobile phone, enable the gridlines in the camera settings and place your dog’s eyes or face along these lines or at the intersections. (You will be able to turn grid/levels on and off under the camera option in Settings for both Iphone and Android)

Background: Keep the background simple and clutter-free to make your dog stand out. A plain background or a natural setting like a park works well.

3. Location

The right location can make a huge difference in your photos.

Photograph your dog in the places they love; the local park, your garden or even (if they are allowed on the furniture!) their favourite spot on the sofa. As with everyone, a familiar surrounding will help your dog feel more comfortable and natural.

Look for interesting colours and textures in the background that will compliment your dog’s fur for example, grass, autumn leaves, or a sandy beach can add interest to your photos.

20200801_10254520200801_102545 4. Settings

For iPhone Users:

Focus and Exposure: Tap on your dog’s face to focus. Hold your finger on the screen to lock focus and exposure and swipe up or down to adjust.

Portrait Mode: I use this one a lot. Use Portrait mode on the newer iPhones to create a beautiful depth-of-field effect which will blur the background and make your dog stand out.

Burst Mode: Like young children, dogs don’t always want to sit still for photos! In any case, we don’t always want them to, as action shots of our dogs are always fabulous if we can capture them! Use Burst mode by holding down the shutter button to take multiple shots quickly. This will increase your chance of capturing that perfect moment.

For Android Users:

Pro Mode: If your Android phone has a Pro mode, use it to manually adjust settings like ISO, shutter speed, and white balance. This gives you more control over the final image.

Focus and Exposure: Tap to focus on your dog. Use exposure compensation to ensure the lighting is just right.

Burst Mode: Similar to iPhones, use Burst mode to capture those action shots by taking a series of photos in quick succession.

5. Additional Tips 20210722_15342620210722_153426

Patience!  Dogs can be unpredictable, so be patient and take your time. Sometimes the best shots come from those unexpected moments.

Treats and Toys: Use your dog’s favourite treats or toys to grab his/her attention. Hold them near the camera lens to get them to look directly at the camera. When I’m photographing dogs in the studio, I also use a repertoire of funny noises that always get a dog looking at me and usually cocking their head in that adorable way they have.

Candid Shots: Some of the best photos are candid shots of your dog just being themselves. Capture them playing, sleeping, or interacting with their surroundings and other family members.

I have been a studio pet photographer for over seventeen years, if you would be interested in booking a session with me, please get in touch!

I hope you find the above tips and tricks to be of use. Remember to experiment with different settings, angles, and locations to see what works best for you and your fur baby!  Happy snapping!

 

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