We all have camera rolls full of photos of our dogs. Personally, have around 37,000 photos in my camera roll and I think 90% of those photos are of my dogs! But sometimes you want to put in the extra effort to take a great photo. I love that I have several framed photos of my dogs (and even some of me and my dogs together) around my house.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of professional photographers for photos with my dogs thanks to my blog. I have a lot of experience creating fun images over the last 10 years of blogging, plus a side gig as a model and actress for the last 15 years.
Even as a seasoned professional, I always love to look at inspirational photos before I go on a shoot. It can be really helpful to have inspirational photos to show your photographer (or even your friend) so you can get the images you have in mind. Feel free to share this blog post with your dog photographer or friend who is going to help you take photos.
30 Dog Photography Ideas to Capture the Perfect Shot
In this blog post, I have over 30 ideas for your next dog photoshoot. Plus, I’m pointing out photoshoot dog photography ideas tips and advice throughout the post. These examples are great for any pet parent who wants to create a lasting memory with their dog.
All of the photos (except for one, see if you can spot it!) are of my me and my dogs. So these are real examples, not stock images!
You’ll find ideas for:
- Portraits of your dog
- Poses to do for pet parents with 1 dog
- Pose ideas with a pet parent and 2 large dogs
- Action shot inspiration
- Seasonal and holiday dog photos
To get the best results during a professional photoshoot or while snapping pics on your smartphone camera, always make sure your dog is having fun! Like I said, I’ve done dozens of photoshoots over the years and the best ones are when we’re having a good time. Let your dog be themselves, go with the flow, and bring plenty of their favorite treats!
Seeing Eye to Eye: Get On Your Dog’s Level
The first tip and examples I want to share with you are about taking eye-level photos of your dog. This is the quickest and easiest way to take better photos of your furry friend!
Even if you’re just using a smartphone, this will take your photos from an OK snapshot to something that you are proud to post online, share with fire,nds, and maybe even print out.
Here are a few examples of photos I’ve taken at my dogs’ eye level. Plus, I had to include lly cool eye closeup that I added fireworks to in Photoshop. It’s such a cool image, I had to share it even though that’s a little advanced!
Why are eye-level shots so good? It’s because the camera is making more of a connection with your furry friend. I love seeing into the soulful eyes of my pup in images like this. When you take the photo from above, you don’t usually get the same kind of connection.
You can taeye-levelvel photos of you and your dog together, too! You’re just going to have to get down to their level, I like to get low with my dogs so that our eyes are at almost the same level. It makes it easy to frame images like this or to post them on social media because you all fit in the image well.
Throughout this blog, post there are tons of examples of how to pose with your dog and shoot from different angles for great photos together.
Embrace the Action: Capture Playtime with your Pup
There’s nothing like an action shot where you get to see your dog’s personality! Over the years I’ve taken so many posed photos, that now y prefer action shots.
I think these are a little harder to capture because everything needs to be in focus. So make sure to tell your photographer that this is what you have in mind so they’re prepared (or can tell you that’s not their thing).
For action s, hots you lly natural smiles from the people, and the dogs, in the photo. There’s a lot of great energy! Every time you look at the photo you’ll remember how much fun you were having.
Some ideas for things you can do to get great action photos with your dog are:
- Show off a trick your dog knows like spin, high five, or jumping up next to you
- Throw a ball or toy for your dog
- Toss treats for your dog to catch (there’s a great book called Treats! full of images like this!)
- Run alongside each other
- Walk up or down the stairs
If you’re working with a professional dog photographer, it’s a good idea to communicate with them that you want some high-energy action shots. They might bring special equipment or suggest a cool location to capture images like the one below.
My friend Charlotte is a professional photographer who takes great dog action shots! She has a great blog post about taking more photos with your dog where you’ll see even more inspiration. If you’re in the Colorado area, reach out to Charlotte for your next photoshoot.
Dog Portraits: Celebrate Your Dog’s Personality
On the opposite end of the spectrum are classic portraits. These can be done indoors, outside, or in a special photography studio. I have several photos like this of my dogs and even a few with me in them. Since portraits usually have clean backgrounds it’s a great way to highlight your furry friend’s personality without many distractions.
Portraits are best for dogs who can sit or stand still for a little bit and who are comfortable with a camera being close to them. When we did a session with a professional photographer on a seamless paper backdrop, like the pink image below, my dogs had a hard time standing on the paper because it was slippery.
You can also ask the photographer about putting down a pretty blanket, dog bed, or small rug to make your pet more comfortable for their big photo shoot. My friend Angie from Elly May Moments does beautiful studio portraits and she shares some tips in this podcast episode.
For professional, classic dog portraits you can do close-up, full, body, or get creative and do something reminiscent of a classic portrait you might see above the fireplace in a fancy mansion! Take it seriously, or be goofy! Just because portraits are a classic style of photography, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it!
Here’s Lucy posing in Central Park on a trip to New York City. I love how she’s sitting up so straight and there’s that iconic skyline in the background. Try doing portraits outside like this at a location that’s special to you.
The most important thing about any photo with your dog is that you capture their personality. The most beautiful images with my dogs are ones where we’re doing something they love and they’re comfortable.
The Magic of Black Background: Highlight Your Dog’s Features
A black background can make your dog stand out. This image by Porter Loves is one of my favorite photos of Burt. I feel like I can see into his soul! The black background makes you focus on the pet’s eyes. I thought a black background wouldn’t work on dark-colored dogs, but as you can see it is dramatic and wonderful!
This is a portrait style that you’ll definitely want professional help with! This photo required proper lighting, lots of testing,g and professional editing using programs like Adobe Lightroom.
Photoshoot with Your Dog Tip: Personal Grooming + Outfit Choices
As you prepare for a photo shoot with your dog, you want to do a little grooming. And not just on your dog! Of course, make sure that they’re looking their best. But you also want to make sure that your fingernails look good. Or if you’re going to be barefoot in any images, make sure your toes look good, too! Remove any chipped polish and go with bare nails or a very subtle color.
You might also want to make sure that the shoes you’re planning on wearing are clean. I use a magic eraser to clean up my sneakers. For clothing, I also try to wear lighter colors so my dark brown dogs will stand out, rather than blend in. Think about your dog’s fur color when you plan your outfit!
If you have a light-colored dog, you might want to wear a darker color. If you’re unsure of what colors to wear, ask your photographer what they suggest.
Here’s a great example of how a light-colored red outfit lets Lucy pop in the photo. This gorgeous location in the Hamptons helps, too!
Fall and Halloween Dog Photoshoot Ideas
My favorite holiday has to be Halloween so I have tons of Halloween-inspired photo ideas. If you want to take cool photos of your dogs trick or treating in their costumes, I recommend that you scope out the best-decorated house in advance. It doesn’t have to be your house, go for a walk and see what you find.
Then get your dogs dressed in their costumes and go take photos at that house during the day in the week leading up to Halloween. Do not try to do this when there are lots of kids around. And do not do this on Halloween because there might be dropped candy that can make your dog sick if they eat it. I usually go take Halloween “trick or treat” photos on a random Thursday around am10am.
Want to capture a cool next-level creepy Halloween photo? Get a skeleton to walk your dogs! I bought this skeleton at Target and zip-tied him to a metal stand I had in my basement. It happened to be a really foggy morning which was perfect for these photos! Afterward, I just used Photoshop to edit out the metal stand so it looks like the skeleton is walking my dogs!
Prefer cute to creepy? Fall is a great time to find beautiful colorful leaves for dog photos. For these photos, you probably want to position the camera above your dog and shoot down so you capture more of the color.
Creative Winter and Christmas Photo Ideas
You probably want a great photo of your dog to put on a holiday card or to share on social media. Here are some unique ideas! Instead of posing your dog next to the Christmas tree, why not get super close up and shoot from an interesting? gle? I love how this photo of Burt turned out because the tree and Christmas lights fill up the whole background.
More creative ideas for winter and Christmas dog photos are:
- Stage photos of them opening presents and let them rip open the boxes
- Go on a walk and pose with some of the best decorations around your neighborhood
- Try different angles to get unique photos
- Look for opportunities to use non-traditional holiday colors like I did with my dog in her pink coat in front of my pink door and pink ribbon wreath
Valentine’s Day Dog Photoshoot Ideas
Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to celebrate with our pups because they give us so much love every day of the year. For this simple Photoshop,ot I hung a paper heart banner behind my dog and set my camera so that she was in focus and the background was blurred out. If you don’t have a professional camera (this is the mirrorless model I use), you can achieve this with portrait mode on your iPhone.
I also did a photoshoot a couple of years ago where I set up a Valentine’s Day at night with my dogs at home. This LOVE plate was a DIY that I did with my dog’s paw print as the O. I put the dogs in pink sparkly bandanas and wrote out place cards for us. In the spirit of letting the dogs be dogs… Lucy went for the treats! I love the photo of her jumping up on the table because it’s so authentically her!
Dog Birthday Photoshoot Ideas
I love to make birthday cakes for my dogs every year! It’s a great way to celebrate them with a special treat and an excuse to take a fun photoThisis first one, it’s an older shot with my old dog Lola. What makes this photo special is all the details.
I have a clean, clutter-free background. I even made sure the blinds were even on the windows! Then I positioned my dog on a chair at the table. This brought her up to a higher level where I could get a good photo of her straight on. One other detail that I think makes this stand out is the blanket on the back of the chair. I love pink, and I think this pop of colly makes Lola stand out and ties the whole image together!
Another idea to commemorate your dog’s birthday with a professional photoshoot is to set up a party in the park! These photos are really special to me because it has my girls Lola and Lucy together. I love the posed photos, but you can probably tell by now that I love an action shot!
Let your dog eat their cake or treats and capture photos of that! You’ll want a fast shutter speed or if you’re using your phone hold down the camera button for burst mode.
Dog Photo Ideas for Inside Your Home
You don’t need to go to a fancy location or a professional photo studio to capture great photos with your dogDoingng photos at home can help your dog feel more comfortable and be themselves. I love photos taken at home because I love my home and have so many great memories with my dogs here!
Here are a few examples of indoor photos and a few from my front door. Your front steps are a great photo spot because you can play around with your and your dog being at different levels. This adds visual interest to your photos.
Plan a Sunset or Sunrise Photoshoot with Your Dog
To capture some unique photos with your dog, try experimenting with different times of the f day. Sunset and sunrise (AKA Golden Hour) can ly cool times of day to take creative photos.
The top image here is from sunset on a nearby dock. My dog Lucy loves the water, so this was a perfect location to fit her personality. The second photo is a silhouette-style photo that I took at sunrise while we were on vacation one summer. I like the sun flare and the golden outline the sun gives to my dogs’ fur.
Pet Photography Tips: Familiarize Your Dog with the Location
This photo below turned out really great, but it was stressful for me because I didn’t realize this urban location would have a lot of food debris on the sidewalk and gutter. With two labradors they’re always looking for crumbs and stray french fries! Next time I will scout out the location in person before and allow more time to walk the dogs around the area before the photoshoot starts.
To see yourself up for success on a location shoot, show up early! Give your dog plenty of time to sniff around the location. This will also give you time to scope out any potential triggers for them that you want to avoid. My friend Kerry Martin does tons of location photos on road trips around Australia and shares some tips on this podcast episode.
Showing up early and familiarizing you and your dog with the location will help your photos turn out great!
Dog Photography Tip: Use Fun Props
Use props for your dog photos to add extra personality or your favorite colors. Good props might include a pretty ceramic dog bowl, one of their favorite, toys, or special accessories.
Check out some advice from my friend Vasi of PetPix Academy. She has tons of resources for pet parents to help take better pet photos using a smartphone. The people she helps always have lots of fun props in their photos! Check out her tagged photos on Instagram to see what I mean.
I love this photo of my labrador Lucy and me wearing matching yellow headbands. I tied hers on as a collar and put mine in my hair. It’s a cute matching look that I captured as a selfie on my phone. This clip that holds a dog treat right next to the camera on my smartphone came in handy for this photo!
Embrace the Joy of Photoshoot Dog Photography Ideas
I hope this post gave you a ton of inspiration for your next photoshoot with your dog. Whether you’re working with a professional pet photographer or snapping selfies, I did my best to show you that you can take great pet photos no matter what!
It was hard for me to select what photos to include in this post, I have many, many more! So please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or special requests.
I also want to shout out the professional photographers featured in this post. Thank you:
- Setter Marie Photography
- Rose Colored Creative
- Don Noel
- Victoria Miller
- Porter Loves
- Jenny Karlsson
- Charlene Potts
- Cristin Goss
- Natalie Seibers
Please go out and take lots of photos of your dog and photos WITH your dog! I promise that you will treasure them for many years and they will be really special to have when your pet is no longer with us. Photos and memories last forever! And now you have plenty of photoshoot dog photography ideas.