Trying to take a great picture can be pretty tough, especially when your subject has four legs, a tail, and doesn’t speak English. Yet somehow, Instagram and Facebook are flooded with the most adorable photos of corgis at the beach and goldendoodles at restaurants.
Now I can barely take a semi-decent photo of myself, let alone a fabulous picture of my dog. Luckily for me–and I’m guessing many of you out there, too–local photographer and dog-mom Jordan Hefler wants to help. We recently met with Hefler to find out her tips for taking the perfect shots, just in time for National Pet Photo Day on July 11.
1. Train them to “Sit” and “Focus”.
Every time you feed or give your pet a treat, Hefler suggests making it a habit to have them sit and focus, making eye contact with you. “Eventually they’ll listen to the commands when you pull the camera out, too,” she says.
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2. Bribery can be your best friend.
If training your pet to sit still isn’t quite working for your pup, a little bribery might just do the trick. Holding your pet’s favorite treat or toy near the camera typically works to keep their attention. “There’s nothing wrong with a little bait,” jokes Hefler. “Plus, you can give it to them after to let them know they did a good job!”
3. Get on their level.
Hefler wants to discourage always pointing the camera down at your pet when you want to take a photo. Instead, she suggests getting down on their level and playing with perspective.
4. Have fun with it.
Usually when you take a picture of your pet, it’s because you want to remember the moment, so don’t forget to make the experience fun. “Don’t be afraid to make silly noises and act like a crazy pageant mom,” says Hefler. By making new or unfamiliar sounds, you’re able to capture your pets attention and you might even snag a cute picture of them tilting their head.
The most important tip Hefler shares, however, is not to force anything and listen to your pet. Although posed pictures can be super cute, some of the best shots might be candids. Hefler says not to try and make your pup pose longer than a few minutes. since you want your pet to look happy and natural, rather than stiff and nervous. “If it’s not working, they’ll let you know,” Hefler explains.