We all want to take wonderful photos of the furry members of our household, but doing so can be a challenging and frustrating task. Here are 5 easy ways to instantly improve the quality of your pictures, regardless of what kind of camera you are using.

Dog Photography Tip 1

Windows Are Your Friend! Natural light, or sunlight, will consistently give you the most accurate color in your photos with little to no post-processing required. If you are shooting indoors, place yourself between your dog and a window with bright but indirect sunlight. The window should be to your back, so that the soft light entering the room is falling on your pooch’s face.

Dog Photography Tip 2

Don’t Mix Lighting! Different types of lighting – natural, incandescent, flash, or fluorescent each cause a different color cast in photos. Natural light will, again, provide the most accurate color. Flash can also produce pleasing colors, but only when used correctly (most on-camera flashes are too harsh and direct). Incandescent bulbs will cause your photos to have a yellow tinge, while fluorescent lights add a green cast. Some color casts can be corrected using Photoshop or other editing software, but getting the color as close as possible in-camera will save you quite a bit of time. For the most accurate colors right from the get go, use the above tip for indoor shooting using a window, but make sure to extinguish all other lights in the room to avoid mixing color casts from different types of light.

Dog Photography Tip 3

Keep It Shady! If you are taking outdoor photos of your doggy friend, the best time to shoot is in the late afternoon, just before sunset. Earlier in the day, the high position of the sun will cause harsh shadows and lighting in your photos when shooting in direct sunlight. If your dog is a dark color, you may lose detail in the face and coat. If your dog is a lighter color, the harsh light will cause the detail in the fur to overexpose. If you must shoot early in the day, stick to areas of wide open shade (avoid blotchy shade filtering through thin tree cover). The soft light of the shade will keep detail and texture in your dog’s eyes and fur so that he/she still looks soft and fluffy in the photos!

Dog Photography Tip 4

Forget The Flash! Most cameras come equipped with an on-camera flash. Because the flash is so close to the lens of your camera, photos often end up with people or animals sporting a “deer in the headlights” look that is not very flattering. Have you ever seen photos of animals with creepy, glowing eyes? That’s the result of an improperly flashed image. For best results, look for areas of soft natural light using the above tips and keep that flash turned off!

Dog Photography Tip 5

Composition Is Key! This one is fairly obvious, but an image with a strong composition can really pack a punch. Look for unobtrusive backdrops without random objects or strange lines cutting through your dog’s head or body. Line up horizons or edges of walls, fences, etc with the edge of your camera. Frame images so that diagonal lines terminate at the corners of the photos. Don’t crop your dog’s body at the joints – neck, ankles, or the top of the legs where they meet the rest of the body.