Photographing Black Dogs 101

Point and click

Having trouble getting the best glamour shots of your black dogs? Prospective adopters love photos – are your black dogs looking their best? Follow these easy tips to improve your photos, get your black dogs noticed and help increase adoptions. They’ll look so good, if you’re black dogs get agents and develop super model attitudes, don’t blame us!

*All tips assume that you are using a basic point and shoot camera with automatic settings.

Outdoor Tips

Take your pictures in the morning or early evening for best light. From sunrise to about 3 hours after sunrise, and from 3 hours before sunset to sunset is usually best.

Shoot on a cloudy day. The light is soft and your subject will be evenly lit.

Use side lighting to enhance detail. Face the sun, then turn 90 degrees to your right or left. This is where you should place your subject. Side lighting will not work with direct afternoon sun.

Use direct lighting if no other lighting choice is available. Stand with your back to the sun, then move slightly left or right so the sun is shining just over your shoulder. Place the subject directly in front of you.

Use a large white object such as foam core, paper, or a white wall to add extra light. Just place the white object as close to the dog as you can without getting it in the shot.

Indoor Tips

Use natural light if you can. Photograph your subject near large windows with plenty of sunlight.

For a little extra light, place your subject next to something white. For example, a white wall, a large white piece of paper, or a white foam core.

For even more light, shine a light such as a utility light or flashlight at the white wall your subject is standing next to. This bounces light onto your subject.

Pay attention to your background. Avoid having other people, animals, or unsightly objects in the background that may take attention away from your subject.

General Tips

Do not use the flash on your camera if you can help it. It causes the human equivalent of "red eye" and is very unflattering to your subject

Do not photograph the subject from above. Get down to the dogs level for a more natural look. This may mean lying on the floor or setting a small dog on a table.

Do not photograph dogs outside in mid afternoon when the sun is directly overhead. This causes unflattering, harsh shadows.

Watch for unwanted shadows. Make sure your own shadow and those of other people or dogs are not in the photograph.

Get a few other people to help. Someone to hold the leash and another to get the dogs attention.

Reward good behavior with treats! Tiny, soft "training treats" are best for an immediate reward without interrupting your photography session.




Jennifer VanKempen's portfolio includes fashion photography for designer Theresa Winge, concert photography for The Last Waltz and Tim Mahoney, "Fan Photography" for the Justin Timberlake Fan Club and website photography for startseeingblackdogs.com. She specializes in unique, one-of-a-kind pet portraits as well as wedding and special event photography. Jennifer has a B.S. in Digital Photography and has volunteered for South West Metro Animal Rescue, The Minnesota House Rabbit Society and The Minnesota Zoo. She is an Apple Valley, MN native and currently resides in St. Paul with her husband, son, two cats and two ferrets. Contact Jennifer


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