8 Tips for Better Dog Photography – Yes, even for Black Dogs

Let's face it: our smartphones are full of photos of our four-legged darlings. And we love every single one of these pictures. But when we scroll through Instagram and click „like“ on one beautiful dog picture after another, we sometimes wonder why these pictures somehow look so much better than our own. First of all: It's not the camera, and certainly not the model. We got some tips from Instagram Labrador @superduperlab, with which you can create great dog pictures that you will love to look at again and again.
Black labrador perfectly captured It can be a challenge to take photos of black dogs.

1. Your dog should have fun.

Not every dog thinks it's great when a black box with a huge eye (yes, that's how the photo lens or the smartphone looks like for the dog) is held in front of his nose. So first of all, get him used to it – with a few of his favorite treats, it will happen pretty quickly.

2. You should have fun.

Enjoy doing and learning something together with your dog. Because when you are having fun, your darling will also join with lots of joy. And if something doesn't work out right away, stay calm and just try again.

By the way: If your dog is having trouble staying in a certain place, when you want to take a picture of him, place him on a stone or a tree trunk, for example. This way, he knows where to stand and you can concentrate on taking photos. In addition, the four-legged friend looks especially elegant when his front paws are slightly higher than the hind legs.

For newcomer models, you start with playful lead exercises without a camera: first briefly, then longer and longer until you move a few steps away. After some practice, you can also do it with the camera.

Black dog wearing coat posing for a picture With some practice, everyone can take beautiful pictures of their dog.

3. Photograph at eye level.

When you are out and about with your dog, you usually see him from above. Change the perspective to take the picture. Get down on your knees or even lie down. It is worth it! Captured at eye level, a picture of your pet looks much closer and more familiar.

black labrador in the alps Meet your dogs at eye level when taking photos.

4. Also think about the background.

Of course your quadruped is the star in the picture. But you should also pay attention to the surroundings. If it is too wild, it can distract from your dog, so you should either choose a calm background, or make it blurry by taking pictures with the aperture as open as possible (i.e. a small aperture number). With your smartphone, you can use portrait mode.

black labrador in dry grass A nice background creates more depth.

5. Focus on the eyes.

When we look at a photo of a person or even a dog, we instinctively look into the eyes first. Therefore, the eyes in the picture should be sharp. Always focus on your dog's eyes. A little trick if you have a black dog with dark eyes: Put on a nice, bright collar and let the camera focus on it.

Speaking of black dogs: Sometimes they are a special challenge when taking pictures. Here too, there are some tips and tricks to simply take better pictures.

black labrador in cuddly blanket A dog's look captivates every viewer.

6. Look for beautiful light.

Black fur absorbs a lot of light. Therefore, when photographing black dogs, you should pay special attention to the respective light situation in addition to the points mentioned above:

Early in the morning or in the evening, the light is usually nice and soft. Then you can be creative to your heart's content: Take photos against the sun to set the silhouette of your four-legged friend in scene. Or place your dog in a way that the sun shines lightly from the side, giving his fur a particularly lively shine.

By the way, blazing midday sun and black dogs do not get along so well. By the hard shadows, the camera becomes overtaxed quickly and the black fur turns into nothing more than a contourless spot. Therefore, it is better to take pictures under cloudy skies or in the shade. This way the coat is shown to its best advantage.

Black labrador on a tree The right lighting makes a difference.

7. Pay attention to eye reflexes.

A little trick that gives every photo more expression: Make sure that you see a light reflex in your model's eyes. The pictures then look much more vivid.

dog between green plants. Vivid dog photos thanks to reflections.

8. Extra tip for advanced photographers: take pictures as RAW files.


Finally, a bit of technique: If possible, take photos in the RAW format (you can find out how to do this in the manual of your camera or on YouTube), in order to exploit the full potential of electronic image processing. The RAW format stores all image information without loss, so that you can, for example, lighten the dark elements of the picture almost at will later.

When editing images – on the computer, for example, in Lightroom, Capture One or another image editing program; on the smartphone, for example, in the Snapseed app – it is advisable to make only slight adjustments; otherwise the photos will quickly look unnatural.

First of all, adjust the overall brightness of the image. For black dogs, lighten the dark areas of the coat until the texture is clearly visible. You can also darken the light areas a bit. With a light vignette you darken the edges of the picture discreetly to guide the view. According to your taste, you can also slightly desaturate the colours or use a filter of your choice. You should also straighten the horizon and crop the picture so that your dog sits, lies, stands, jumps, runs or swims perfectly in scene.

You see, taking pictures of dogs is much easier than training them, for example. And with a little practice you will soon be able to take many new favorite photos of your dog.

Editing images of black dogs. Photo of a black dog before editing.
Editing photos of black dogs. Picture of a black dog after editing.