The Dogist’s Photo Pro Tips

Photographing dogs is easy, and I’ve probably photographed more dogs than anyone ever. Here are a few simple tricks I’ve picked up that will make your images more inspiring and your dog look like a professional model.

1. Don’t worry about gear.

I’ve spent thousands on camera equipment and nobody notices when I post a picture I took with my iPhone in a pinch. Sharp tools are nice, but good photographs are about special moments, not resolution.

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2. Have something the dog wants.

Squeaky toys usually work, but food is generally the canine’s preferred currency. Start with a biscuit and go from there to progressively stinkier things. Just make sure it’s not something that’s going to smear on your camera.

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3.  Take a bunch of pictures.

Once the dog is fixated on that delightful thing you have in your hand, take a bunch of pictures. Sometimes getting the right frame requires a bit of patience and you’ll often see something in an image that you didn’t notice in the moment. You have to take a lot of bad pictures to get the exceptional ones. With practice, your success rate will increase.

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4.  Fill the frame.

Whether it’s all dog or there’s an interesting background context, look through the viewfinder like you’re painting a picture. Is there a traffic cone in the background? A mailbox? Shift your angle so the frame is full of only things you want.

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5.  Be inspired.

It sounds cheesy, but that’s all there really is to artistic things. Photographs, like all artistic creations, tell a story. What’s the story you’re trying to convey? Is the dog happy? Sad? Sleepy? If your picture makes people laugh, cry, ooh & aww, or ask a question, you’re doing something right.

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Despite these tips, the real challenge is putting them into action. The hardest part of doing anything is doing it, and that’s why most aspiring artists never get very far. Reading these tips is 100% useless if you aren’t going to stop staring at this screen afterward. Being a photographer is hard work and it’s not glamorous, especially with dogs.

Have fun and run free like a dog!

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The Dogist

Elias grew up outside Philadelphia with two siblings and five dogs. He started The Dogist in 2013, a photo-documentary series about the beauty of dogs. He published the NYT Bestselling book, The Dogist in 2015.