Anyone who has a dog will agree that their lives changed forever when they met their puppy for the first time. These precious creatures often become the best thing to ever happen to us. So, it's only natural to want to immortalize your fur-child forever in a puppy portrait.
The early days or months of meeting someone are undeniably special as a new bond blossom while butterflies dance in your stomach. Similarly, your bond with your puppy is fresh, exciting, and ever-growing—photographs and puppy portraits reflect that essence while adding a unique, magical essence to them.
For getting the perfect portrait, you need the perfect picture. It's safe to assume that sometimes it's nearly impossible to capture your puppy's crazy, unforgettable moments, given their restlessness. To help you with the seemingly uphill battle, listed below are 5 surefire ways to get the perfect picture for a puppy portrait.
The rule of thumb for getting the perfect photograph of your puppy? Always take more pictures than you think you will require.
5 Surefire Ways To Get The Perfect Picture For A Puppy Portrait
1. Bonjour Mon Ami, i.e., Your Camera Settings
If you want the perfect photograph, say hello to your new best friend - the camera settings. Many cameras have settings that allow you to capture a moving target, just like the case of your pup.
You may miss their antics in the blink of an eye, which makes it crucial to use a fast lens and a fast shutter speed. A great choice for a lens for this purpose is the 70-200mm f2.8 telephoto as it is quick enough to freeze movements while allowing you to zoom in and out quickly, should the need arise. This lens also pulls the background quite pleasantly in shots.
Ensure that you shoot at a high frame rate to avoid missing out on notable moments. To avoid a motion blur in the photos, it's best to use a fast shutter speed like 1/400th of a second. If your pup is hyperactive, then you can opt for shutter priority mode to get sharp images.
Creating what is called the Bokeh effect is an excellent way to focus on your puppy by blurring the background, especially if there are distractive elements. To create a Bokeh effect, you'll need to use a large aperture like f/2.8 and f/1.4, and position your pup away from the background. A Telephoto lens will be required to blur the background. Finally, when shooting, move closer to your pup.
High resolution is a safe bet as it allows quality close up crops if the photo is shot from a distance. Take care when opening the aperture all the way down, as it may blur sections of your pup's face.
2. Create A Cinematic Masterpiece
No one knows your puppy's routine and nuances better than you. Your pup might like to dance to a particular song, or they might smile every time you give them food. Be ready with the camera to capture these special moments instead of going on a treasure hunt for the camera or practicing Olympic running with the puppy.
Puppy portraits are a great way to tell stories, and photo-shooting your puppy with a context can take you through a rollercoaster of emotions years later. Your pup might love presents, capture the moment they open theirs on Christmas Eve. This way, you will have a time capsule in the form of a portrait. Years down the line, not only will you be reminded of the jolly day but also of your puppy's excitement for gifts in Christmas' glory. To take it up a notch, you can dress them up as the most adorable Santa, or any costume that speaks to you.
Perhaps, Max can't resist destroying his toys except for his favorite squeaky ball. Imagine him wearing sunglasses, sitting with a pile of his destroyed toys, and looking proud holding his favorite ball. Now that's a memorable scene that would remain special for years to come, and you surely wouldn't be able to resist the overflowing cuteness.
3. Lighting - Greatest Friend And Worst Enemy
Lighting can essentially make or break your picture. Dog photography is no different from regular photography in this case; it's all about the correct lighting.
In almost all cases, natural lighting produces the best results as artificial or fluorescent lights have a way of making colors look odd. A spotlight might sound amazing in theory, especially when you envision a celebrity in the spotlight, but it can create undesired shadows. If the camera is pointed into the dog's eyes, using flash pretty much always produces the dreaded demonic red and glowing eyes.
At your shoot location, choose the place with the brightest yet diffused light to get the best picture. Sunrise and sunset time is best if you want a beautiful golden hue in the pictures. After some practice, you can also consider playing with shadows for unique effects.
4. Goodbye Background Clutter
Background clutter can often go unnoticed until after you take the picture. It pulls the focus off the subject, i.e., your charming pup.
Make sure you check the background to remove all the distractions before clicking the picture. A clean environment, except in case of certain themes, produces the most aesthetically pleasing photographs.
In addition to a pleasant sight, removing clutter reduces the post-processing work. Digital cameras often have great editing software. Many apps have a crop option in case an unsightly element is present in the picture.
Choosing a background that contrasts with the color of the dog make an excellent picture
5. Eyes Are The Windows To One's Soul
Eyes are the most expressive part of everyone's face, including animals. The best way to create an engaging portrait is to focus on the eyes and their expression.
Your puppy's curiosity, love, grumpiness, smugness, and other emotions can easily be captured forever.
To get the perfectly aligned, expressive picture, you may have to practice some stretching. Don't be afraid to bend, twist, turn, crouch, crawl, essentially do whatever it takes to get the ideal shot. For an impactful picture, you need to be at eye level with your pup, so be brave and get down and dirty.
Cheat Code: Auto-focus can often be your knight in shining armor, and focusing on the general vicinity of your pup's whiskers will give the perfect alignment.
In the end, for everything, practice makes perfect. Patience goes hand in hand with practice, especially for dog photography. You may think you need 5 mins to get your shot, but it may take over 30 minutes in reality.
All the puppy portraits tips won’t be enough if you don't have patience and don't understand the pup's limits. Also, make sure to keep some cash (treats) handy so that you can pay your hardworking model.
With puppy portraits, a heartwarming scene in the movie of your pup's life will be frozen in time, forever and always.