Thursday, May 13, 2021

Review of Tips for Photographing your Pet

Jack Russell Terrier - Dixie Rose photo by mbgphoto
Dixie Rose

 On April 10, 2021 we adopted a new dog.  We had been looking for a dog for nearly a year but had been unable to find a small dog to fit our needs.  Then, in early April, Tricia from Stray Paws Rescue contacted us and said she thought she had the perfect dog for us.  Dixie is a two year old Jack Russell Terrier who had been abandoned and was rescued by Stray Paws in January.  She was a month pregnant at the time and was brought to a foster home to have her pups and recover.  Tricia took excellent care of her and the pups and the four pups were all adopted once they were weaned.  It was then that Tricia, who had read our application, thought she would be perfect for our household.  Tricia brought her over to meet us and she is indeed a perfect fit.  She loves to follow my husband around and go on long walks with me.  Here are the first photos I took of Dixie right after she came to our house.

Jack Russell Terrier looking up photo by mbgphoto

Jack Russell Terrier photo by mbgphoto

Photography Tips for Dogs

Now those of you who know me or have been reading my posts know that I love photography. So, when sweet Dixie arrived you just knew she would be my next photography model.  The first photos I took were quick shots to show our family and friends what the new member of our family looked like.  I knew that I would want to take some better photos once Dixie got to know me better, so I did some online research on tips on photographing dogs.  There is a wealth of information out there, but for now I thought I would share a few of the tips I have used.  I have a lot of work to do in improving my technique but it is a fun new challenge.

Use a Black Background for Classic Portraits

I found this tip on several sites and decided to give it a try.  It is not one I would have thought of on my own but I like how they turned out.  My favorite is the intro photo for this article and here are two more that I like.

This first photo shows Dixie in her classic pose every time I walk up  to her.  She rolls over on her back and waits for me to scratch her belly.  She is so cute.  This was also another tip I read to have them on their back looking up at you.

Jack Russell Terrier on her back photo by mbgphoto

By holding up a treat I got her to sit and look up toward me.  

Face of a Jack Russell Terrier photo by mbgphoto

Keep Their Personality in Mind

On all of the tip sites that I read they suggested to get to know your pets personality and keep that it mind when taking the photos.  The following photos show some of Dixie's favorite activities.

Dixie loves to watch the squirrels in our yard and on the trees in our backyard.  She will spend hours just looking at them as you see in the two photos below.  

Waiting for Adventure! Jack Russell Terrier photo by mbgphoto

Peering out the window Jack Russell Terrier photo by mbgphoto

When Dixie is tired from her squirrel patrol you will find her curled up on the bed or on a blanket on the sofa.  Here are a couple of her resting photos.

Jack Russell Terrier photo by mbgphoto

Jack Russell Terrier with her special blanket photo by mbgphoto

Both of these photos also use another tip I read about online.  That is to "focus on the eyes to create depth" .   That isn't always easy to do because when I put a camera in front of my face Dixie tends to look away.  I'll have to work more on that technique.

More Photography Tips for Dogs

Here are a few more tips that caught my interest.  I will have to work on them.  Stay tuned, I see another post on dog photography after I've had Dixie for a while and have perfected some of these techniques.

  • Capture Owner Pet Relationship
  • Think before you Snap
  • Rule of Thirds- don't always have dog in center of photo.  Look for unique angles.

Dog Toys Provide Hours of Fun

Dixie loves all types of dog toys, but I think balls are her favorite.  Here is one she recommends.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Dixie is adorable and I know she is so loved. You can see that in her portraits! I'm so happy that you have found a new family member and will make her the center of your photography efforts. She is so easy on the eyes! What a wonderful way to enhance your love of photography and give us some really great tips too! Will pass this on to my son and DIL so they can take better pictures of their fur baby to share with me! Thanks Mary Beth!

  2. Dixie makes a perfect photographer's model. She is very photogenic. Love the 'Squirrel Alert' photos as it reminds me of my friend's dog's favorite pastime. :) Delighted you and Ray are getting so much enjoyment from your 'fur' baby and that Dixie has such a welcoming place for her forever home.

  3. I suspect taking photos of your Dixie comes naturally to you, Mary Beth! You love her and will be patient with her, which is often required here when taking photos of our pups. I really like the black background, but I love that photo of Dixie with her green blanket. Sooooo cute! Congratulations to all of you on bringing Dixie home.

  4. Thank you for all these wonderful tips on photographing a pet. Dixie is gorgeous and I am so glad she has found a loving home with you. She is very photogenic and has the most beautiful eyes. I love the photo where she is resting on the green blanket. Wishing you all a lovely time together.

  5. Your experience and natural talent for photography plus your delightful, energetic and photogenic subject are a match made in heaven for pet photography! Thanks so much for sharing not only your helpful tips but also your wonderful photos of Dixie. I'm so glad she has become a part of such a loving family.

  6. Isn't it fun to have a new four-legged photography model? Your Dixie is such a darling muse. Shooting with a black background is a great tip. Some dogs are just more camera tolerant than others. I find that many rescue animals are initially afraid of cameras and being stared at. My dogs have learned to put up with their photography passionate mama. I look forward to seeing Dixie's wonderful new life through your eyes and the lens of your heart. Congratulations on this fabulous adoption.

  7. Dixie is gorgeous, absolutely stunning. What a face! You've captured her personality so well in these photos. Great tips as well. I'm not very good at taking dog photos. However, with two dogs in our home at the moment, the family takes many photos - have to say, your photos are quite professional looking compared to the ones I've seen here - no offense family :)


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