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Dog Posing for Beginners: Simple Steps for Great Pics

Dog Posing for Beginners: Simple Steps for Great Pics

If you’ve ever had a family photo taken with your dog, you are probably well aware that dog posing isn’t an easy task. So, why bother having your pet in the picture in the first place?

Anyone with a dog knows their pet is a part of the family, including family photos. So, having your dog sit still for the camera is just as crucial as having your kids pose. We have some simple steps to help with dog posing for beginners.

Get your camera ready, and let’s get started!

Do Dogs Like to Be Photographed? 

How do dogs feel when we’re taking their picture? It’s clear that some dogs love the attention and get an ego boost from posing for their owners, but others aren’t so fond of being photographed. After all, it seems to be an intrusive thing; suddenly, pulling out a camera and pointing it at them probably won’t elicit positive reactions in all furry friends. 

collage of couple with dog
Taking a great picture with your dog may take several tries! Our dog Luna finally settled for our family selfie, but there are many photos of us all making goofy faces prior to that.

While some dogs love the attention, do they know people are taking photos? Some dog owners swear their dogs know when they are photographing them, often doing their best to change their poses while keeping still. But it could be more attributable to human behavior than canine instinct. Our cues often give away when we are about to photograph a dog.

Dogs are likely acting in response to the expectation of a treat or a kind word from the photographer. Therefore, dog posing might be more linked with their reward system than an understanding of the photo-taking process. Still, the dog could know. 

Whether the dog knows and likes it, it takes time, patience, and practice to keep it comfortable posing for pictures. However, if you can manage it, the results are worth it. Photos of your pup will look adorable and bring you joy for years to come.

pet photography
Photographing dogs requires patience.

Why Can It Be Challenging to Get a Dog to Pose?

If some believe dogs like to pose and know when we’re taking their pictures, why is posing a dog still so difficult? Just like kids, dogs are stimulated by what’s happening within their surroundings. Movement or noise nearby can quickly draw their attention away from the task at hand. 

Once you’ve finally posed your dog the way you want, you might lose their attention when you raise the camera. Besides outside stimulation, a camera or phone can easily distract a dog with its noise and big lens in front of your face. The noise can be intimidating and scary. With a piece of metal in place of your face, dogs can no longer see you.

All of this adds up to a significant challenge regarding dog posing. So, what can you do? Train your dog to pose for pictures.

Want some inspiration? We’re always amazed at how Mo Mountain Mutts gets all of their dogs to pose!

How Do I Train My Dog to Pose for Pictures? 

Some might say that training Rover to pose for pictures is easier said than done, but if you have trained your dog to behave, you can teach them to pose, too. With a few simple tricks, dog posing will become easier than kid posing.

Step 1: Tell Your Dog to “Sit”

Capturing those perfect pup pictures can be challenging, but there is one surefire way to make it easier: telling your dog to sit. It’s an essential dog trick, and once your dog has learned it, you can expand on it by getting them to pose for the camera in different ways.

Start by getting them comfortable with you holding your phone or camera above them while they’re sitting.

Training doesn’t happen overnight, and it usually doesn’t happen without treats, so take your time and be creative. You’ll have fun bonding with your dog and trying new ways of posing while you work toward those amazing dog pics.

Step 2: Train Your Dog to “Stay” with a Command

Training your dog to stay once they sit is key for dog posing. This may seem daunting, as dogs can often be very rambunctious and energetic, but it’s surprisingly simple with the right cues. 

Start by aiming for short increments. Have your dog sit for five seconds, giving them a treat every second. Then use the word “okay” to allow them to get up. Have your dog repeat this process of sitting, but now you’ll give them a treat only every two seconds. Repeat until you’ve given them five treats. Tell them “okay” when done, so your dog knows to get up. Repeat this until your pup can stay for five seconds without any treats until the end. 

You can introduce the command “stay” by repeating the process above. Now it’s finally time to train Rover to stay while you move away. Follow the same method as “okay” and “stay,” but this time, you will take a step back every time before returning to hand out a treat. Remember to use the word “okay” so your dog knows when they can get up. 

Once your dog has mastered short amounts of time and distance, gradually increase those parameters. With consistency and patience, you should eventually have a dog that loves posing for pictures. Or maybe they’ll only love the treats!

training dogs to sit and stay
Using treats for dog posing is an excellent way to keep your pet still for the perfect photo.

Step 3: Teach Your Dog the “Look” Behavior

Training your dog to do the look behavior may seem intimidating at first, but with practice and repetition, you’ll be surprised at how easily it can become a part of their repertoire.

To teach them this behavior, start by offering your dog a treat by the nose. Then, slowly move the treat toward your eyes so that they make eye contact before they take the treat. Once they lock eyes with you, say ”yes” and give them the tasty reward as thoughtful reinforcement. Complete this process five times and then increase the time by one second, repeating it five more times. 

When you do this routine enough times, call it something specific like ‘look’ so that when you ask them to assume this pose, they understand what you are requesting. With consistency and dedication, your dog should complete the pose while staring into your eyes for up to 15 seconds.

Step 4: Keep the Camera at Your Dog’s Eye Level

Another excellent tip for dog posing is to keep the camera at your dog’s eye level. This minor adjustment can significantly affect how the photo looks and feels. It brings out the dog’s personality and makes them appear as the star of the show.

Getting down to your dog’s level also gives you a better view of its face, so you’ll get those fantastic little expressions that make each pup unique. When keeping the camera at their level, look over the camera and not through the lens. Doing this not only gets you a great shot of your pet, but it also makes him more comfortable. This is also a great time to use the “look” trick. Need a bit more help? Have a treat just below the camera, ready to dole out. 

photography of pet at eye level
Keep the camera at your dog’s eye level to capture its personality.

Step 5: Do Short Photo Sessions

The attention span of humans is often short, and the same holds for dogs. If you’re looking for beautiful photos of your pup, keeping the photo session short and sweet is key.

For dog owners everywhere, this dog posing tip can be essential to getting ideal dog portraits. Less time usually results in better images, preventing exhaustion and frustration for you and your pet.

Dog Posing Hack: “Pant” at Your Dog

If you want a dog to listen to you, why not act as a dog does and pant? This dog posing hack is brilliant and simple. The key is to have your camera ready because your dog won’t pay attention to you for long.

Once you’ve set up the shot and your camera is ready to hit the shutter or push the button on your phone, and start panting. Your dog will likely look up for a second or two, curious. They may even cock their head to the side! That is all the time you will have, but all you need is that one quick second to get the shot of the year.

Where Are the Best Places to Photograph a Dog Posing? 

A dog’s enthusiasm and curiosity make them beautiful subjects for photography. Whether you want to capture their silly personality in action or take a more formal portrait, the best locations to take your dog’s picture show off their unique features. 

Urban environments with concrete walls and metal structures are excellent for highlighting contrast and showing off facial details and fur color.

If your dog loves the outdoors, parks, gardens, or wooded areas could be perfect for capturing large-scale scenes with plenty of natural beauty. Even your backyard can provide diverse opportunities. Angles like low-level shots against a vibrant lawn or overhangs of foliage can add another dimension to dog photos. 

Dog walking outdoors with a ball in its mouth
The outdoors is perfect for capturing scenes with plenty of natural beauty or action shots.

Wherever you snap pictures of your dog, be aware of lighting. For professional photographers or novices, lighting is critical and can make or break the photo. Natural lighting is usually best in the early morning and late afternoon, when the noonday sun’s harsh light dissipates, giving off brilliant warm colors. 

Using a flash is a way to open up shadows if you must take photos during the height of the day. But that flash won’t do you a bit of good if your dog is too far away or running across the field. Keep the flash for close-ups, but also be sure it’s not too overpowering, or you’ll end up with a washed-out look and no details from your pet’s cute face. 

Be wary, too, because if your pet is unfamiliar with light flashing, it might make them a bit skittish. Natural light is best. Unless you’re looking to spend a lot of money on professional photography gear, most phone cameras will capture your pet without additional equipment.

dog posing with a bow tie
All dogs are photogenic!

Are Dogs Photogenic?

While Rover might not be trying to be photogenic, the more comfortable he is around you, the more photogenic he’ll appear. Nervous behaviors like yawning, licking their lips, and even turning their heads indicate that dogs are not into it. 

Training your dog for posing starts with recognizing behaviors and learning what makes it comfortable. Start slow. Your dog probably likes to sniff. Let them sniff the camera. Let them investigate the noises and the way it moves. Reward them for good behavior. 

In time, you’ll swear your pet smiles for the camera. And, of course, your dog is the cutest ever, and everyone will want to experience that. After all, dogs are most definitely photogenic.

Do you have cute pictures of your dog trying to pose for the camera?

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Petrics was born out of a love of helping animals and their owners live life to their fullest! Established in 2022, Petrics was founded by Caitlin and Tom Morton of Mortons on the Move, Discovery TV Show hosts and successful RV Travel Experts. They are a full-time RVing couple who loved traveling with their beloved rescue dogs. This Petrics team strives to share the most interesting questions answered, the most entertaining news and culture, and the most inspiring rescue stories. Additionally, our mission is to give back to animal welfare organizations so they can continue their good work in saving the constant stream of animals in need. In fact, 5% of all profits from Petrics are donated to animal-saving initiatives!

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