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Take Better Photos of Your Dog with Your Cell Phone

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Every dog deserves a great portrait. But it’s not always possible to hire a professional photographer, and most people don’t own a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Luckily, cell phones come with pretty good built-in cameras these days, so as a result most pet owners’ phones are low on memory – since it’s all been filled up with photos of their dogs! 

But the camera is only half of the story. The photographer behind the camera is much more important. So here are some tips to help you create gorgeous portraits from the everyday moments you share with your dog. (Compiled by a professional pet photographer!)

1. Clean the lens first.

This will help your photos be clear and tack-sharp. Use a clean cloth (such as your shirt) instead of your fingers, since the natural oils in your skin might cloud up the lens even more.

2. Zoom in now, not later.

Try not to crop your photos to a fraction of their original size. Zoom in on your subject, and take the photo with the same framing that you want the final image to have. That will give your photo the best possible resolution, and it will look its best!

3. Use a focus point.

You can literally tell your phone where to focus. Just tap the screen on your dog’s face, and it won’t make the mistake of focusing on the background instead of your pup.


4. Use grid lines for your subject.

Try and line up your dog with one of the grid lines that separates your camera’s screen into thirds. (You might have to turn this feature on in settings, depending on your phone’s model.) This will help you follow the “rule of thirds” to compose your photo beautifully! 

5. Use burst mode.

You might need to turn this setting on to use it, but it’s worth the hassle – you’ll be able to take several photos per second! This is especially helpful with action photos, since it’ll help you capture the best possible moment when your dog’s legs, ears and tail are flying in every direction! 

6. Shoot in the daytime

Cameras work better – and produce clearer photos – when there’s plenty of light. So don’t photograph your black dog… indoors… at night. Head outside during the day!


7. Don’t use the flash

Flash is not flattering – on people or dogs – and with animals in particular, it can often produce that “glowing eye” effect that makes your sweet, innocent pooch look like a demon. Turn it off unless you absolutely need it! 

8. Get to know the native editor

You can take a photo from good to great with a few simple tweaks. Use the program built into your phone to adjust the contrast, brightness, darkness, color… have fun and see what happens!

9. Practice!

There’s simply no better way to learn. Get out there and keep trying!


Give it a go!

That’s quite a few tips for how to take better photos of your dog. If it seems overwhelming to read through this list, try picking one and practicing that strategy for the next few days. Then move on to the next tip once you’re comfortable. And remember, these tips can be used on any subject, not just dogs. So have fun!   

Want more tips? Download this free guide to help your dog look at the camera! And check out Take Better Photos of Your Dog on Facebook and Instagram

If you enjoyed learning how to take better photos of your dog, be sure to check out some great photos of dogs who stopped to smell the flowers!


About the Author

Allison Shamrell is a dog mom to Bailey, a 12-year-old shepherd mix who wants to go for another walk right now please. She has been a professional pet photographer since 2010, and her studio is located in San Diego, CA.