7 Tips for Photographing your Dog

7 Tips for Photographing your Dog

I love taking photographs of Hugo and Holly (in case you hadn’t already noticed!)

They even have their own Instagram account where I share my daily dose of pug with the world! I love photography in general and I found photographing Hugo and Holly completely different to anything else. First of all they move around a lot, generally as pugs they’re snoozing but they must have a sixth sense or something because as soon as the camera comes out they play up to it! They’re like small children pulling their tongue out at the camera because they know you’re trying to get a nice photo!

I’ve picked up bits and bobs trying to photograph two rambunctious pugs and wanted to share a few of the things that have helped me get some cute pug mug shots!

Get down to their level 

I usually see the world from 5′ 2″ above ground level but if you get down low it looks very different and you start to notice things you didn’t see from your normal height! When I first tried this technique I was amazed by it! The things you notice just from being at a different angle is amazing and you can get some brilliant shots that look totally different. Close ups of paws and noses are a great place to start until you start to notice things yourself.

Take LOTS of photos 

I always have my camera set to burst mode so when you press the shutter button or tap the screen the camera takes photos at a set number per second until you let go. If you’ve got a calm, co-operative dog then you’re good to go but with Hugo and Holly it’s usually a case of blink and you’ll miss it! I find the more photos I take the more chance I have of capturing ‘the decisive moment’ the cute head tilt or the nose lick. The photo of Hugo above was one of about 9 where I just pressed the button and he happened to lick his nose, I don’t think I could capture that in one go if I tried! We’re in the digital age where you can delete what you don’t want and only keep those you really like so give it a go. If you need help changing your camera to burst mode just get in touch or leave a note in the comments section!

Use props, or don’t

I occasionally use dog costumes or headbands or other props or sometimes I’m the prop but generally I don’t. If you and your dog are comfortable with costumes for them and they’re not going to overheat (as pugs can so easily do) then give them a try. If not then you can use things like cushions, throws, chairs and toys to add something different to a photo.

Plan your session

By this I mean decide what kind of photograph you want to take and what you’ll need to get it. If you have a specific shot in mind then do you need the dogs to be awake/asleep/posing/playing/looking at the camera? What do you need to help you get the photograph? Treats to get them to sit still or will you need to be quiet because they’re asleep? Is your camera fully charged and nearby? I like natural photos of Hugo and Holly just being themselves but even then I have to make sure my camera is close by because I’ve actually missed great snoozing shots because the camera was in another room and I’ve moved to get it and woken them! Be prepared and plan your session even if it’s not really a session!

Have fun

This sounds silly and not like a tip at all but it is and it’s an important one! If you make it hard work then it’ll feel like it but if you make it a game, for yourself and for them, then even if you don’t get the shot you’re after at least you had a great time and made memories trying!

7 Tips for photographing your pug

Offer a reward 

For pugs when I say reward I mean food, obviously, but whatever works for your dog, it could simply be a pat on the head, a snuggle or 10 seconds tug time with their favourite toy. If you can get your dog to sit/down/stay on command then use whatever rewards/incentive you use there. Hugo is a good boy and will generally stay in position but Holly is a wriggler and definitely requires food based incentives to stay still! It might take a few goes and you might need to use this in conjunction with the taking lots of photos tip but if you keep at it they eventually realise that doing what you ask means a treat!

7 Tips for photographing your pug
This was taken with the offer of ‘cheesy bites’! I showed Holly I had the treats and then held them by the camera lens as I took the photo and it worked perfectly!

Take a break

Dogs can get bored easily if you’re asking them to sit and stay in the same position for a long time so if you haven’t got the shot you’re trying for in the first few minutes then take a break, you can always come back to it later. Use the time to play with your dog or try something different like brain training and they’ll be more eager to please next time you try!

If you try these tips and want to share your success photos on Instagram use the hashtag #hugosadventures or post them in the comments below! We love cute dog photos!

Good luck and have fun!


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