Taking Photos of Your Foster Dog

October 6, 2014

When potential adopters are browsing the web, a good photo of your foster dog can make a very good first impression and can help them get adopted faster.  Check out these tips for taking successful photos of your foster dog.

1. Lighting


Whenever possible, photograph your dog outside using natural light. Very bright, direct sunlight can give you photos a harsh look. So look for areas of open shade or photograph around sunset/sunrise times when the sun is closer to the horizon. 


If you are photographing inside the house, look for areas near a large window or a sliding glass door where lots of natural light comes in.  Turn on all the lights in the room and open curtains & blinds to let as much natural light in as possible.  When you don't have enough light, your shots can turn out blurry, especially if your foster dog is moving around a lot.

If you can, turn off the automatic flash feature on your camera-sometimes direct flash can make a dog's eyes look like strange laser lights.


2. Composition


Whether you are photographing outside or inside, you want the focus to be on the dog, so make sure there are not a lot of distracting elements in the background of your composition.  If you can adjust the manual settings on your camera, open your aperture up to allow for a more shallow depth of field, blurring the background while focusing sharply on the dog in the foreground.


3. Get on their level


Don't be afraid to get down on your foster dog’s level, even if it means you have to get down on the ground!  Sometimes hovering overtop of a dog can actually make them nervous.  Getting down at a lower level and angling your camera to look up at the dog is much more visually interesting, especially if you get them looking up and catch a little bit of light in their eyes to create a highlight. 


4. Focus on the eyes


Fill the frame with the dog’s face – think portrait.  Make sure you are focusing on their eyes.  Eyes are the windows to the soul and this is what will help potential adopters connect to a dog.



5. Act Natural


Some rescue dogs may have never seen a camera before and getting their picture taken could actually be a very scary experience for them.  Dogs communicate many ways using their body language, so you need to pay attention to the signs your foster dog is giving you.  If they are uncomfortable or nervous – it is going to show up in the photos and that could inadvertently turn off potential adopters.  Be aware of your foster dog’s body language and know when they have had enough and it may be time for a break.  Focus on capturing the dog’s personality instead of trying to “pose” them.  This could involve patience on your part, waiting for the right moment.  Other dogs may need a toy or a treat to make the photography experience more motivating.  Think of ways to get your dog involved to make it an enjoyable experience for them, and also that will capture their personality for potential adopters.


6. Quality vs. Quantity


Even if you only get one good picture, that is totally fine as long as you make it count.  One picture is all it takes to save a life!  Instead of focusing on getting a lot of images, slow down, take your time and be patient.  




















































For even more tips on photographing your foster dog, check out these two great websites:


One Picture Saves a Life


HeARTs Speak



Article and Photographs Courtesy of Mutts Matter Rescue Volunteer, Cassie Reniers.

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