Pro Tips for Photographing Your Dog

Hello everyone :) I’m Christina of Route Bliss. Recently Kym put the word out for some guest bloggers to fill in while she’s having a relaxing great time without all of us in Mexico. And since many of us pop in here at Travel Babbles to see the periodic images of the handsome Brutus, I thought it would be a great idea to share some tips for photographing your canine.

Several years ago I began offering portrait sessions for canines; before that I’d had years of practice photographing my own dogs. If you have a laid back breed, getting great photos of them are usually a piece of cake; high energy breeds, well, they take a bit of work to get ‘the shot.’

Here’s what I recommended to my clients prior to all sessions and what I do with my high energy half beagle/half blue heeler …

Black Lab with owner | images by Christina McCall of Sit.Stay.Snap. Pet Photography

1. Teach them some basic commands from early on …
Sit and stay are the most important to avoid ‘fur blur’ — but for more fun, teach them to lay down, roll over, and how to catch frisbees/balls. Mid air jumping shots are pretty awesome to capture.

perspective example - shooting downward at canine by Christina McCall

2. Treats treats treats
If there’s a treat they absolutely love or that they don’t get often, use it to bribe them to stay still. With my clients, I always tell them to provide the treats for the session for one reason — allergies and food intolerances. I’d hate to make a canine sick because I treated them with the wrong thing. With my dog, he loves a few different dog treats — and meat. For the shot below (taken with my phone), I’m holding a steak just out of camera range — and yes, he did get the steak afterward.

bribing my dog with a steak by Christina McCall

3. Run them first
Action shots are great, but sometimes a posed sitting shot is all we want. And if your dog is like mine, its the one shot you’ll work for. I always recommend playing with your dog for a bit and getting some of that energy out of them, then they’ll sit and stay far more easily.

meet carly by Christina McCall

4. Grooming
If you have your pet groomed regularly, schedule their appointment a few days before you plan to take portraits of them so they’ll look their best. For those that don’t use a groomer, a good brushing will get loose fur out. Also, make sure your pet’s face is clean and generally ick-free around the eyes prior taking photos.

Hope these tips help you capture some awesome images of your beloved fur child :)

christina-at-routeblissAbout the author: Christina resides in East Texas and has a serious case of wanderlust. On her blog Route Bliss you’ll find amazing photos that she’s taken while roadtripping all over the USA and Canada, posts about health and fitness, photography tips, and a peek inside of her world.


  • Niki Caron

    Yay I love these tips! And totally agree with tiring them out. My dogs can be wild if they don’t get some exercise!

  • Leanne

    really good tips! I think treats are great to use, it should be a positive experience for both the photographer and the dog!

  • Sara Louise

    HA! It’s amazing what a few treats can do! :)

  • Kate Willoughby

    What great tips! My son usually is the family dog photographer. What I really want from him, though, is a painted portrait. :)