• Smart Bark

10 Tips For Photographing Puppies & Dogs

Updated: Apr 6

Puppies grow up so quickly. In a blink of an eye they have reached adolescence and all you have left to remind you are those gorgeous puppy photos. Smartphone photography can be a great way to capture those precious moments with your puppy. It’s the type of camera you have with you most, if not all the time.

Phone taking photo of dog on beach

Dogs can be extremely challenging to photograph. It is difficult enough trying to get a human to sit there and take direction while you snap away. What about a puppy or dog who loves to move and is completely unpredictable?

Luckily, dogs will do most things for a snack or treat.

Our article will take you through the key elements you need to be aware of when taking great dog photos on your phone.

1. Tired Puppy = Slow Puppy

Makes sense doesn’t it. The average dog sleeps for about 12 to 14 hours a day. Puppies, who expend a lot of energy exploring and learning may need as much as 18 to 20 hours. Try to catch your puppy when they are asleep or tired. They will be moving slower and this will give you more opportunity to take clear, in focus shots.

Tired, cute puppy laying on the floor

2. Noises Get Puppy Attention

There are a number of apps on the market which make distracting camera sounds. The idea is to get your puppy looking into your camera or at least towards you as you take the shot.

This tactic rarely works on an older, shrewder dog, but works wonders with young and gullible puppies. It has the added advantage of leaving both hands free to steady your phone rather than an awkward one-handed operation with a squeaky toy in the other.

We’ve found several free apps worth a try - DogCam, Dog Selfie or HarkCam

3. Organise Some Dog Props

Get everything ready in advance. Baskets and crates act as ideal props and have the added bonus of confining your puppy in one space.

Think about the backdrop to your photos. Avoid busy backgrounds filled with messy clothes, people, and vibrant colours. The simpler your background, the easier it will be for people to focus on your puppy.

You could hang up bedsheets to create a plain uncluttered backdrop. Or how about simply using a white wall or take photos in empty spaces. Fields and white rooms are perfect for this.

Cute, small dog with a pink princess crown

4. Focus on those Puppy Eyes

Eyes are the windows to the soul.

William Shakespeare

If you want to take touching and expressive photos of your puppy, focus on their eyes. You can take close ups or crop your photos later so that only the eyes are visible.

If you are taking photos indoors, make sure there’s enough surrounding light to make your puppy’s eyes stand out. White walls and big windows can help you create that special glow.

adorable grey puppy staring at camera

5. On your Dog's Level

When it comes to photographing anything, you need to look for different perspectives.

Photographing at eye level is boring and can be uninteresting to the viewers. Try getting down to their level.

For a dramatically different perspective, get really low, then flip your phone upside down and get a few extra inches lower. This places the focus on your dog and shows their importance whilst sharing their perspective on the world with the viewer.

It’s a win, win - your dog will feel more comfortable and you get to work with some unique perspectives.

Ground level close up of dog nose

The closer your smartphone camera is to your dog, the easier it will be for you to take high quality photos.

6. Be Patient

Keep in mind that you want your puppy to grow up feeling comfortable around your phone. If you make your dog feel uncomfortable each time they see you reach for your phone, they won’t be interested in posing for you again.

If they’re sleeping, take advantage of their calmness. Take some serene puppy photos. If they’re scratching and biting or moving around too much, simply try again another day.

Always reward your puppy for good behaviour, it will keep them interested and turn the whole experience into a positive one.

calm puppy laying on bedsheets

7. Family Group Shot

This can be tricky with a small puppy. If you want to include your puppy in a family portrait, why not use a staircase. Sit on one step with the puppy in front, on a separate row or on a lap.

8. Take a Puppy Selfie

If you have a cuddly pet, chances are it will enjoy the selfie-taking process. If your pet is too cool for cuddles, you can still take gorgeous selfies. Try mimicking their expression.

Another way to take a successful selfie is to play with your pet first. They will be more open to posing with you when they’re relaxed.

Girl carrying a puppy in her arms

9. Good Light for Great Puppy Shots

Very young puppies are easier to photograph indoors as you may not have developed their recall sufficiently to allow them off lead safely and erasing a lead from a photo can be problematic.

Try to take your photos near big windows to maximise the light available indoors. The first step to preventing blurry or shaded photos is great lighting. 

cockapoo asleep on the floor beneath a table

10. Never Use a Flash with a Dog

Flash can be very disruptive unless professional equipment is used. It’s highly unlikely that your phone has professional flash features available, so don’t use it.

The flash will make your pet’s eyes glow (not in an attractive way) and it may well scare them.

Instead, experiment with creative photography techniques if it’s too dark. Take photos of your puppy’s silhouette or shadow.  


Puppy photography may well challenge you but it will definitely make you smile.

All you need to do is familiarise yourself with your smartphone and learn how to keep your pet interested during your photoshoot.

Once you feel comfortable you’ll be able to take amazing photos of your beloved puppy whenever you want.