puppy photo whippet in a tutu puppy photoshoot outside

Ten Tips for a Puppy Photoshoot from a Pro

So you have a new puppy? Congratulations, and prepare for a wild ride! Puppy raising is so much fun, but sometimes it can be exhausting. With all of the work a puppy takes, it feels like they grow up right before your eyes. Unfortunately, since they grow so fast, sometimes owners are too busy to take puppy photos of their new addition. Even you try, it seems impossible to get great puppy photos of the crazy balls of fur unless they are asleep! Here are ten tips from a professional dog photographer so you can have a successful puppy photoshoot, whether in your home or in an outdoor location.

Why take photos of your puppy? 

I feel strongly that puppy photos are some of the most special memories a dog owner can have. If you are not able to book a puppy photo session with a professional like Barking Dog Images, here are my top 10 tips to taking having a puppy photoshoot yourself! 

Safety disclaimer

First , a short disclaimer: your puppy should always be safe, comfortable, and having fun while you are photographing them. There is no reason to put them in harm’s way to get the shot, and they should be paid for their time posing for the camera with treats, toys, praise, and cuddles! Take lots of breaks and stop if they seem bothered.

What do you need for puppy photography?

Supplies: Your puppy, a collar and leash, treats and/or toys, a camera phone (like an iPhone) or standalone camera, any other props you would like to include in the puppy photoshoot.

Border collie puppy photoshoot in a city

Here are my top 10 puppy photoshoot tips:

1. Use a leash and an assistant or try a tie down

It is hard to keep a puppy in place! Modern photo editing apps make it very easy to remove objects from your pictures such as a leash. Or, you can try hiding your assistant and leash behind a corner or behind a tree. If you are alone, you can use a tie-out and a small leash to keep the puppy in place (as long as they are calm and do not pull on their collar while hooked up!).

2. Use objects to station or contain the puppy

Another way you can keep the puppy still is to put the puppy on a slightly raised object, such as an ottoman, chair, or within an object like a basket or crate. If you are outdoors, you can also look for a low log or rock. Give the puppy lots of treats for getting on the object, and they will be more likely to stay on it! As always, it is helpful to have an assistant keep the puppy on a leash or be very close nearby to catch the puppy if they decide to fall or jump.

3. Keep distractions out of the background

One of the easiest ways to level up your puppy photo shoot is to improve the background of your images. Make sure you clean up the room that you are taking their pictures in, or take the photos against a blank wall. If you are outside, look out for distractions such as fire hydrants, signs, fences, and toys in the yard. 

4. Get their attention with a noise app

Puppies have very short attention spans! My favorite tip for getting their attention is to use an app on your phone. The app I use is called Dog Teaser, and the mooing noise always gets puppies to tilt their head!

5. Take your puppy pictures at golden hour

The hour after sunrise and hour before sunset is commonly referred to as the “golden hour”. This is a great time to take photos of your puppy because you can take advantage of the warm, soft lighting. However, if it gets too dark, it will be hard to get a high-quality image, so be careful when you are timing your photo session!

puppy photoshoot at the beach at sunrise of border collie

6. Add variety with different angles and distances

Dog owners often take photos of their puppies from a human eye level, but that doesn’t tell the entire story! Most of the time that I am photographing puppies, I am laying on my stomach on the ground. If you are at eye-level, you can really be in the same space as the puppy and capture what they look like. However, you shouldn’t take all of your photos from the same angle! Try a photo of them looking up at you from directly above, or have them on the edge of a bed or couch and lay on the ground looking up at them. Also try different distances, like a puppy with a beautiful landscape behind them (zoomed out) or a very close-up photo of one of your puppy’s tiny paw pads. Get creative with these puppy picture ideas!

7. Capture the puppy’s action with toys and use burst mode

The best part of having a baby puppy is how playful they are! Puppies love to play with toys. But, it is very hard to capture motion! Try to turn your shutter speed up (if you can adjust it, use a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 seconds) or use the “burst” mode on your phone. Then, with you laying on the ground and your assistant about 20 feet away from you with the puppy, have the assistant throw a toy about halfway between you and puppy. This way you get photos of the puppy grabbing the toy and hopefully running back to you!

8. Don’t forget to include the other family members

The most special photos of your puppy might be of them with your other dogs, pets, or family members! Make sure that you get a friend to take pictures of you and your puppy together. There are so many cute poses that owners and puppies can take together. Then, use these same tips to get a photo of your puppy with your other dogs or pets! 

puppy photoshoot at golden hour on shoulder with owner

9. Include their favorite items

Puppies often gravitate towards a certain toy, blanket, or other item in the house that becomes their pacifier. Make sure you include this special item in their puppy photo shoot! Then, you can take similar pictures as they grow up or when they reach their first birthday for a comparison of their growth.

10. Print your photos!

Last but actually the most important, whether you take your own puppy photoshop with these tips or hire a professional like Barking Dog Images, you should print your photos! Don’t let digital images disappear off of your phone, never to be seen for more than the day they get likes on social media. Your puppy images deserve to be seen daily on your walls or in an album in your home. Trust me – nothing makes me smile more than seeing my dogs on my walls!

dog photographer wall art


I hope this gives you some ideas for photographing baby puppies! Your puppy photo ideas will only grow the more you research and learn about dog photography. If you would rather leave it to a professional, click below to contact me for your own custom dog photography session!

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