The ultimate guide on how to pose your dog for a photoshoot
If you are like me, I’m always looking for an excuse to snap a photo with my camera or phone but when you have an energetic pup or pooch with different ideas how do you get your dog to pose for a photoshoot? I’ve put together the ultimate guide of how you get great photos of your dog next time the opportunity arises!
Dogs need praise and thanks
First things first, I want to get something clear from the offset. This one is really important, above all other bits of advice, I will ever give – ever. Are you ready? Dogs, like humans, don’t do anything out of the ordinary for nothing. Do you go to work for free? No, you get paid. Even if you run an errand for somebody the very least you would expect is thanks and dogs are the same. Posing for a photoshoot isn’t necessarily normal for a dog so we must give them a reason to, give them praise, thanks and perhaps give them a treat once you’ve got the photo you want.
Give clear commands to your dog
Now we’ve got that out of the way let’s start with a solid ‘sit’. It can be easy to confuse your dog so giving clear commands will work wonders when you come across an amazing photo opportunity! Don’t use ‘wait’ or ‘stay’ as it infers that there is another command to come and can create anxiety. “Sit” means bum down until they’ve received another command or that they have been released.
Before I move on to the next tip in my ultimate dog posing guide, I want to make a note on why we use treats. Remember at the top of the guide I mentioned that you might not go to that 9-5 for zero payment? Well giving your dog a treat when they sit nicely for a photo is payment for doing something that they don’t normally do.
Did I mention that this is really important, yep, so much so I’ve said it twice! I know that there are folks out there that will disagree with me, and to you guys that have 100+ hours of training under their belt I have the utmost respect for, but for a lot of dog owners I meet, the ‘treat’ can sometimes be the only thing that will encourage your pooch to sit.
I have one caveat, however – payment for your doggy should never be in advance! We want to reward (give thanks) once we have got a successful sit and photo(s). Giving a treat first or holding the treat out could distract your dog, especially if they are a food orientated animal.
Make loud silly noises
Dog’s do not like being stared at. Although this might not be a super issue if you are using something like an iPhone to take your dog’s photo, if you are using a compact camera or DSLR those bigger lenses are like holding a big bug-eye staring right at your poor doggy!
Teach the command “watch me”, this will be far less confusing and stressful for your dog. If I kept on shouting your name at some point you’re going to get either really excited or annoyed and shout back “what?” If you haven’t perfected this new command then instead of calling their name, get his attention by making some loud silly noises, or perhaps scrunching up an empty water bottle – pick something that works for you and your dog.
Don’t be a stress head
I say this to almost every dog owner, have patience and don’t forget to breathe! The pressure to get a good photo, especially if you have gone to a professional photographer for a portrait (like me), is like that of any parent and their child. Be kind to yourself and don’t be a stress head. Your dog will instinctively pick up on this and from that point on your photoshoot will only head downhill!
Be OK with imperfection
There are practical elements to my guide to posing your dog that you could use straight away, but like all training you do with your dog, it requires three things, practice, practice and more practice! The important thing to remember, for your own sanity, is to be OK with imperfection. You won’t always get it right most of the time, your dog has his own mind and that’s OK too, just don’t forget to breathe and remember if it’s not fun, it ain’t worth doing!
Every dog is different, each has their own personality and how you can get them to pose may work for you but not for a doggy friend. What tips and tricks have you learned whilst taking your dogs photo? Drop me a comment below and tell me your go to for posing your dog for a photo, I’d love to find out how you do it!