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The Elusive Perfect Pet Photo

Let me get this out of the way right off the hop: I am by no means a professional photographer. In fact, 90% of the time, the device on-hand for my pet portraiture is my iPhone. Instagram is also my friend.

That being said, I have received a number of compliments on my ability to capture moments with my two husky/collie cross dogs (Sailor and Max) despite their nature to be constantly in motion and slightly crazy. What I love about the photos not being posed or forced, is that you do get a sense of personality in them, personally, that is why I think people have complimented my posts.

Here are my favourite tips for photos of fido:


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1. Don’t force them, just go with the flow.
If they happen to pose nicely for you on their own, awesome. But that is not terribly common in my world. If they are running, trying to catch a squirrel up a tree (good luck) or hear something in the distance, those moments can all make a great picture.


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2. Work your angles.
I literally like to stand back in a nice spot and take a couple of shots of the beautiful landscape first. Once I have found my favourite crop, I wait until they come into frame. If they’re taking too long, I still don’t force them, but I may throw a stick in the general direction to speed up the process. If they’ve gone past or are to the side, call them and get an action shot.


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3. Never shoot from Instagram.
This is something I learned early on. You will have much greater success if you take various photos with the camera function and import them into instagram. It is much simpler to shoot multiples, plus, you can always zoom in after you take the photo once you’re in instagram, sometimes the ones shot from afar turn out best.


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4.  Use those features.
Whether you are a fan of the filter or not, from an amateurs perspective, the ability to zoom, crop (as you can probably see, I’m a fan of asymmetrical shots), create bokeh with the tilt shift (blurring out the unwanted elements), sharpen, brighten and  adjust basic aspects of the photo quickly and easily is a godsend.


5. Wear them out.
Take your dog to it’s favourite spot, preferably where it can be off-leash, and encourage them to play and run. When you’re nearing the end of your walk, they will be much more responsive to sitting still and are more likely to stay close.


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6. Get outside!
If your dog is anything like mine, they are happiest outdoors, embrace that. It will show. Plus, there really is nothing quite like natural light for beautiful photos. Take them somewhere you normally wouldn’t and watch their face light up with the new smells and fauna to explore.


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7. Focus Freely.
Your pet’s adorable face doesn’t need to be in focus for every photo. From the side or behind, or even paying attention to their paws can all be very interesting.


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8.  Snap Away.
Not every photo is going to be a winner, but we live in the digital age. Did you know that if you hold down button while taking a photo on your iPhone it will take multiple photos seconds apart for you? That’s what I do, when I get back from the walk (or whatever), I just delete the not-so-great ones and pick my favourites to keep. This is the best way to get shots while the pups are in motion.

I’m certain a lot of these tips will apply for other friends of the animal variety, but also kids! A lot of these seem like common sense, but when you’re in the moment, we don’t always think about all these things. Let me know how these tips work for you in the comments below!

PS – I’m not trying to be unfair with the photos I’m sharing, we’ve had our smaller dog, Max much longer! We just got Sailor (the white, larger dog) this fall. Both are rescues, please consider a rescue dog when finding your next furry family member!