5 Tips on How to Take Puppy Photos

Mind Your Light, Settings, and Background

Everyone agrees puppies are darn cute. Even though your puppy is gorgeous and does the cutest, funniest, most amazing things, capturing it on film can be an uphill battle.

Taking photos was different back in the days before digital cameras. Taking photos usually meant that you had to take five times as many images of the exact same thing. This was necessary to increase your chances that you got the shot. Since you could not see the photo until you developed the film, you never knew if you had a winner or not.

Well, taking photos of animals is similar to the days of old. You still need to take five times as many photos since puppies will not sit still for you, say "cheese," or show their face on command.

The good news is that at least in the digital photo age, there is no more wasted film—you just delete the blurred ones or the extras. For a good rule of thumb, simply shoot more than you think you will need. Also, check out these five more universal tips for taking killer pet pictures.

  • 01 of 05

    Make the Most of Camera Settings

    ResizeEaster-JanTyler-Getty.jpg
    Image Copr. Jan Tyler/Getty Images

    Most cameras have a setting for action shots to help you capture your furry moving target. Decide ahead of time if you plan to print photos or leave them on the internet or your computer. For print, you will want at least 200 dpi (dots per inch) or better—this is a higher resolution—so the images will not be fuzzy when you enlarge them. Setting at a high resolution also lets you crop the picture taken from a distance and enlarge to a quality close up. Photos posted online only need a resolution of 72 dpi.

  • 02 of 05

    Predict Great Photo Ops

    Magic-Chew-Suck-Toy-R.jpg
    Magic has always loved stuffed toys--but I cut off the toy's ears and tail first, or he'll eat them!. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

    You know your pets best, especially their routines or their special habits. Maybe Sheba drinks from her bowl every morning as you brush your teeth, or Duke brings his toy for tug-games during the evening news. So, be prepared and anticipate the shot before you take it. Have your camera ready so you can snap the photo without hunting for the camera or chasing after the puppy.

  • 03 of 05

    Beware Background Clutter

    Pool-CoolPup-Golden-R-a0047-000051.jpg
    Fill a child's wading pool with water for puppy cooling soaks and splashing fun. Image Copr. BK Hart, Vikki Hart/Stone/Getty Images

    Too much stuff in the background takes the focus off of your puppy. So clear the area beforehand to reduce visual distractions in the photo. Digital cameras have great software packages for editing. Also, there are a number of web-based applications that have basic editing tools, fun filters, stickers, frames, and add-ons. If the photo's backdrop is too busy with children, toys, or piles of laundry, crop it out, and make the puppy the star of the photo.

  • 04 of 05

    Check The Light

    Magic-Paintbrush-Plants-R.jpg
    When Magic was a puppy, he enjoyed the Texas wildflowers. I'm careful about what plants to bring inside. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

    In most cases, you will want to use natural light when possible. Shooting under fluorescent or other artificial light sources can make colors look odd. A spotlight can create shadows you may not want. And if you end up using flash, it nearly always creates glowing eyes or red eye if your camera is pointed directly into the eyes of the animal.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Focus On Whiskers

    eye.jpg
    Image Copr. Robert Llewellyn/Getty Images

    Digital cameras have nifty auto-focus functions. This feature is great if you have bad eyesight. Just focus on the general vicinity of your pet's whiskers and your whole puppy shot should be aligned perfectly.