Let’s surround ourselves with some fun!

Chris Ferenzi Photography is sharing his top 5 dog photography tips and techniques

What better time to up your pet photography game than during the pandemic? We’re all sitting at home (or should be — and, thank you to the people on the front lines who are not able to stay at home, btw), maybe bored, definitely sick of hearing/reading/seeing crap about the coronavirus outbreak.

The answer is obvious to me.

Start sharing your pet photographs with the world — because we need good stuff right now!

We asked expert photographer, Chris Ferenzi, to share his secrets to the cutest dog photos ever.

You’re welcome.

Oh, and, please tag us in your new, sweet photographs of your furry friends! 😉 @districtblissevents @chrisdelta

Chris Ferenzi Photography shares why your dog needs an instagram and how to take the cutest photos of your pets on the planet


The world must see your dog because they’re the cutest dog that ever was.

How will you accomplish this? By taking awesomely adorable photos.

These tips apply to all types of animal companions, including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, raccoons, ferrets, goats, birds, waterfowl, rescued cows, and so on, but I’m going to focus on dogs since the majority of my example photos are of my dog Jadzia (the best dog ever).

Lighting

As you might guess, lighting is the fundamental aspect of photography. If there’s no light, there’s no photo. And if there’s no photo, how will the internet know your dog exists? How will everyone know how amazingly cute your dog is? They won’t. And that would be sad.

Ambient, natural light (the sun!) is the simplest way to get great light, which is especially important when using your phone because their smaller sensors perform best when given a lot of light. You may have noticed how muddy and grainy phone photos are (before the magic of Night Mode). All things being equal, the higher quality the light the better the photo.

You can use bright light in conjunction with shadow to create a dramatic composition or utilize a shady outside area (“open shade”) for a more evenly lit pup.

This photo shows Jadzia in her morning sun-basking location. It’s one of her favorite spots and the shadows from the window frame her face quite nicely. It also helps to choose a spot where your pet is comfortable (or in this case, have the spot chosen for you).

Pet photo tips with Chris Ferenzi Photography

Patience

Dogs don’t know what cameras are. They might be afraid and try to get away, or they might be curious and try to lick the lens. Put the camera down and let them investigate. Let them sniff it and boop it with their snoot. Give them some time to get comfortable.

“Look over here! Good girl!”

My go-to tricks for getting Jadzia to look at my camera include holding a treat (or one of her toys) right next to my lens. Making ridiculous noises also helps. That’s all pretty straightforward, right?

Here’s a shot of Jadzia on vacation in the Valley of Fire, Nevada.

Take great pet portraits with Chris Ferenzi Photography's tipsI placed her in this spot so it’s 100% posed. She can’t get down so she had to stay in that spot! I framed her with the circle cutout and the rest of the photo is a relatively simple red and tan.

This took about 15 photos to get right, so don’t worry about taking too many photos! Hold the burst down for 5 seconds then pick the best one, and delete the rest.

A less obvious aspect of this process is to make sure you take breaks so your pet won’t become anxious or bored. Show them the treat, snap a bunch of photos, then give them the treat, a quick pet session, and then go for round two a few minutes later.

Cameras can be scary for dogs (the lens is essentially a GIANT CYCLOPS EYE), so you’ll need to allow them time to get acclimated. Also, try not to keep your face behind the camera the entire time you’re taking photos. Set up the shot, then move your head so your dog can see you, then take the photo. This will reduce the amount of time your dog uncomfortably looks away from the camera.

Also, remember to disable the shutter noise on your phone because it can distract them. Sorry DSLR users, you’re out of luck here.

Get on the floor!

You’re most likely between 5 and 6 feet tall, while your dog is anywhere from 6 inches high (Chihuahua) to multiple feet high (Great Dane). Regardless, they’re always lower to the ground than you are, so you’ll need to get on the floor to capture the cutest angles.

Go face to face! Try an upward angle for the majestic look!

All rules are made to be broken, so feel free to shoot from high up as well. These types of shots look best when the background is clean and the dog is looking up at you.

Boston terrier photo by Chris Ferenzi Photography | How to take better pictures of your pets

Composition

Your dog is the subject, so let them shine! Choose a background that is uncluttered and simple. Your phone’s portrait mode is a great way to accomplish this if you can’t find a background that works.

BUT as I said, BREAK THE RULES sometime!

Consider using foreground elements. Instead of a standard photo of someone posing with the dog, focus on the dog with the person as just another element of the frame.

I used my computer screens as a foreground element for this shot.

Your dog needs an instagram during the pandemic | tips to take better pet photos with Chris Ferenzi Photography

This applies to any type of portrait, but it’s also super important to make sure the eyes are in focus. With humans, you can accidentally focus on their nose and still have the eyes relatively sharp, but with dogs, focusing on the tip of their long snout will result in out of focus doggy eyes. Always remember to keep the eye-to-snoot-tip distance in mind!

Final Thoughts

Take LOTS of photos! Some will be awesome, some will great, some will be good, and the rest might be hilariously blurry. The more you take, the better the chance of getting the perfect shot.

Don’t be dismayed if your dog won’t look at you. If they’re more interested in chewing a ball, take photos of that! If they want to sniff around outside, or sit and look at a bird, that’s ok too. Lay on the ground and get a closeup of the chomping, or a majestic birdwatching shot with the sky as a backdrop.

Enjoy yourself and let your dog enjoy the experience. Let Doge be Doge.

I will take photos of your pets, but I primarily photograph events and weddings. Sometimes those events even have dogs! These are the best kind of events. Please reach out to me at chris@chrisferenzi.com or through my website

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Thanks, Chris, for making our social media a bit lighter during lockdown! We certainly appreciate it!