#4 How to take the perfect picture of your dog

All my dog portaits are drawn from pictures. Good quality pictures that is. Since I pay a lot of attention to detail in my drawings, these details need to be visible in the picture.


From time to time I get a bad quality picture send by someone, with the request to draw that picture. Unfortunately I am unable to draw from poor quality pictures...


We all know how hard it can be to take a pic of our pups;

  • They never want to look at the camera or the phone, it’s as if they think it will steal their souls!
  • Flashes look horrible...
  • Natural lighting can be so dark that you can’t tell where your dog ends and the sofa begins!

It’s so hard to capture their unimaginable adorableness  and beauty with a camera or phone, but here are some tips on how it can be done (without having to hire a professional photographer or buying a complicated expensive camera):

1 - use natural light

If possible always use natural light when taking a picture of your dog. Avoid flash, as flash burst can not only cause red-eyes, but also frighten your pup. Instead try to go outside or, if that's not an option, use a room that's well lit by a large window.

2 - Keep the eyes sharp

As the eyes are known as 'the windows to the soul', having sharp eyes in the picture is super important. Make sure to focus on your dogs eyes and keep the tack sharp. Maybe even consider holding his or her favorite toy right above the lens of your camera or phone, to make sure your dog will focus on that. That way you can buy yourself some time to click for the perfect pic!

3 - Get up close and personal

It is very important that you dog feels comfortable and at ease, so instead of forcing him or her to come to you go to them. Most important is to get down to their level; We all know how a dog looks when viewed from above, this is the way we always see them. Show us the way they see world! Sit on the floor or lie on your belly and remember to shoot from HIS or HER eye level or maybe even below.

4 - Give value to their character

I think it's safe to say that your dog will be totally him- or herself when you are the one behind the camera. Therefor chances are that they will show their true character. In my opinion a successful picture is one that reflects your dog a they truly are. We are all familiar with the 'sqeeky toy' pics, where your dog looks super alert with his or her eyes wide open. If you want to photograph your dog with 'softer eyes' and a more relaxed appearance, stay away from objects to lure their attention.  

5 - Stay away from the zoom button

In order to end up with a high quality picture of your dog, make sure to leave the 'zoom' function on your camera or phone alone. If you do zoom in when taking a picture, that usually results in loss of quality where the enlarged image looks blurry and unprofessional.

6 - Be patient

Dog photography requires a lot of patience. A LOT! No matter how excited your pup is, if you are patient enough, he or she will end up relaxing and you will have the opportunity to get a decent shot. When you lay down on the floor for example, they might think you are initiating a new sort of game and be 'in your face'. But once they notice that you are not instigating a game, they eventually leave you be and give you the chance to take some great pictures.

7 - Experiment

Try different approaches, angles and compositions. Don't expect to have the perfect picture taken in the first try. It might take you several sessions before you get that perfect picture. Shoot a lot; you will have time to worry about the results later.

8 - Have fun!

No matter what you try to get the perfect picture of your dog, make sure you and your dog have fun doing it!

You have a tip that I forgot to mention? Make sure to share it by adding it in the comments :-)

comparisation between a good quality reference photo and the dog portrait
comparisation between a good quality reference photo and the dog portrait

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