Every dog parent out there is guilty of having a camera roll full of pictures of their fur babies, I know I am! One of the questions I get asked the most is how I get such great pictures on our Instagram feed, so I decided to share my top five tips to help your pup (or kitty!) get insta-ready!
Tip #1 – Relax and Have Fun!
This might seem like a no brainer but before I started doing the photography for The Brunchin’ Pup I had already dabbled in pet photography with my own dog Lily (shameless dog mom plug – follow her on Instagram @followlilyto) and the first lesson I learned was the more relaxed I was, the more responsive Lily was. When I began photographing for The Brunchin’ Pup and our friends graciously volunteered their dogs for pics, they quickly became frustrated when we didn’t get the perfect shot right away. I had to remind them to take a deep breath and enjoy the process, and sure enough their pups would end up giving us a great shot. The best pictures I’ve taken usually capture the dog’s personality, and came unexpectedly… so relax and have fun, and make sure you are ready to take about 50 shots to get about 5 insta-worthy shots. Once your dog feels that this is a fun activity they will also feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Tip #2 – Treats & Toys Make the World Go ‘Round
If your pup is treat or toy motivated, make sure to use that to your advantage. If you are using treats, make sure to use the small training treats as you might be taking pictures for about 15-20 minutes and you don’t want your dog to get too full or get a tummy-ache. We also recommend using a brand new toy that will capture your dog’s attention. Squeaking the toy or holding the treat over your head will help your pup look directly at the camera but don’t do this for more than about 30 seconds at a time so your dog doesn’t become too anxious. Using this method, it’s best to do small breaks in between bursts of photos to let them enjoy their treat or toy as a reward for a great shot!
Tip # 3 – You Don’t Need a Fancy Camera
Now, I will admit that most of our pictures on our feed were taken with our Nikon camera, but quite a few were also taken with my iPhone…and you really can’t tell the difference. Portrait mode on the iPhone works great, but depending on the lighting it could be a bit blurry if your dog isn’t able to sit still. My recommendation when using an iPhone or even your fancy camera is to take the pictures without a blurred effect and use a preset to enhance the quality of the picture. If you follow any bloggers on Instagram, you’re probably aware of the fancy presets they sell but we recommend a fellow Etsy shop owner called BeyondthePreset, we got ours for $10 and it was the best investment! All you need is the free Lightroom CC app on your phone and he provides a video link with your purchase showing you how to load the presets which is extremely helpful. Some of our free favorite photo editing tips are Photoshop Fix, Airbrush, and VSCO. Also, we recommend avoiding flash regardless of what camera you use as the flash never reflects well off of your pet’s eyes and can start to bother them after taking multiple pictures.
Tip #4 – The Early Bird Gets the Worm
The best time of day for pictures is around 8 AM. In most places and, the sun should be shining bright enough for great shots but not too bright where your dog will be squinting into the camera. You also want to avoid your dog overheating while you’re taking pictures, so waking up early allows you to take pictures for an extended period of time. The lighting is probably the most important factor in a great picture, so we definitely recommend you take your photoshoot outdoors, unless of course you have access to a great indoor photo studio. Another perk of an outside photoshoot is the ability to have a great background…for free! A background doesn’t need to be fancy to be great, a great patch of green grass along with good lighting can make for an amazing picture. Just make sure to pick a background that won’t distract from your perfect pup and try to pick an area that will serve as a blank canvas of sorts.
Tip #5 – A Quick Walk = A Big Smile
One of the biggest questions I get is how I manage to make the dogs “smile” in our pictures and the answer is surprisingly simple. Take your pup on a quick walk, I would say 3-5 minutes just to get them to burn a little energy. Since dogs tend to smile once they are cooling off , you’ll be able to get the perfect picture of them smiling. If you do this method, always remember to take enough water to keep your pup hydrated though out the photo session. I’ve also noticed that the quick walk helps most dogs relax a bit and burn some of that nervous energy, especially if it’s their first time meeting me at the day of their photoshoot.
I hope you found these tips useful and hope you’ll tag us in your next Instagram photoshoot, because if there’s anything I love more than taking pictures of dogs is seeing them on my newsfeed! If you have any questions, slide in our DMs and we would love to help you get ready for your next photoshoot.
Xo, Jennifer Moriyon
Co-Founder of The Brunchin’ Pup