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15 Best Tips for a Puppy Photoshoot (Too Cute to Handle)

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 8 min read
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You would think a puppy photoshoot would be easy. Everything a puppy does is super cute. This is an objective fact. But there are many challenges when taking photos of them.

Puppies are frenetic balls of energy. They are into everything and never stop moving. If you have a new puppy or have been asked to immortalize a friend’s pup, these are our top tips for a successful puppy photoshoot.


15 Puppy Photoshoot Tips

1. Ask for Help to Guide the Puppy

The second you pay attention to a puppy, they will want to climb over you. It’s best to enlist help from a friend or the puppy’s owner to be a wrangler during the photoshoot.

Having an extra set of hands can help redirect the puppy’s attention. This ensures they stay focused and cooperative throughout the session.

Also, a wrangler can assist in gently guiding the puppy into different poses or locations. This can make the puppy photoshoot run more smoothly. For example, having someone reset them to a starting point can save you lots of time and energy!
cute puppy photo tip: an image of a woman in pink holding her puppy against a pink background


2. Get Down to the Puppy’s Level for Best Perspective

To capture authentic and engaging photos of puppies, it’s crucial to get down to their eye level. You can create a more intimate perspective by crouching or lying on the ground. This lets you capture the world from the puppy’s point of view.

Puppies are small, so it’s best to get to their level to get action shots of running and playing. Laying or crouching down and taking photos will help your composition. This approach also helps to fill the frame with its adorable features and minimizes distracting backgrounds.
puppy photoshoot idea: an low image of a puppy running toward the camera


3. Use a Simple Background to Focus on the Puppy

Keep the focus on the puppy by using a simple and uncluttered background for your photoshoot. Opt for neutral-colored walls to provide clean and consistent backdrops. This makes the puppy stand out.

A minimalistic background ensures the viewer’s attention remains on the adorable subject. A sheet, blanket, or towel can be an easy DIY backdrop for perfect puppy portraits if you are inside.puppy photo idea: an image of a grey puppy sitting against a white background


4. Use Natural Light for Flattering Exposure

Take advantage of natural light whenever possible for flattering and vibrant photos of puppies. Natural light adds warmth and depth to your images. The result is beautifully illuminated photos that highlight the puppy’s charm and personality.

Plan the photoshoot near a large window with a sheer curtain or a cloudy or shaded outdoor setting. A curtain or clouds provide a softbox effect. Avoid harsh sunlight and shadows. Harness soft, diffused light that enhances the puppy’s features.

Good lighting with pet photography can greatly improve your pictures. Treats and toys can help keep the puppy in the light.

puppy photoshoot inspiration: an image of a white puppy sitting in a green garden


5. Have an Outdoor Photoshoot for Natural Shots

Capture the playful spirit of puppies by photographing them in outdoor environments. This lets them explore and express themselves freely.

Choose locations with plenty of open space, like parks or gardens. Find natural, safe spaces where puppies can run, jump, and investigate their surroundings.

Having the sun directly overhead causes shadows you could do without. Shoot during the morning or early evening to ensure soft, flattering light. You can also make the most of the warm glow from a low sun. This accentuates their adorable features.cute puppy photoshoot idea: an image of a golden puppy sitting in a green garden


6. Use a Fast Shutter to Capture Puppy Play

Unlike a regular dog photoshoot, where they will “sit” and “stay,” puppies always move. If you want to see their features and not just a fur blur, crank up your shutter speed to 1/500 s (seconds) or faster. This helps freeze the pup’s playful antics and captures its cute features.
cute puppy photographed: an image of a puppy rolling in the grass using fast shutter speed


7. Use Burst Mode for Quick Puppy Movements

Puppies also move quickly and unpredictably. This makes burst mode an invaluable tool for capturing those fleeting moments of cuteness. You increase your chances of getting the perfect shot by shooting in burst mode. You’ll get that mid-air leap or a joyful tail wag.

It does mean sorting through more shots when you come to import. But catching that moment when they shake that oversized toy is worth the disk space. Burst mode is essential in catching those floppy ears mid-flap.
puppy photographed using burst mode: an action shot of a puppy running through water


8. Focus on the Puppy’s Eyes for Engaging Shots

Focus on the puppy’s eyes (unless you’re taking a photo of a floppy ear tip or a close-up of a tiny paw). This helps your viewer engage emotionally with your furry subject more deeply.

Just like any portrait photography, eye focus creates engaging photos. So, ensure your camera’s focus is locked onto the puppy’s eyes.

Check if your camera has a pet mode. Some advanced cameras have eye autofocus (AF) for animals. The camera automatically tracks the puppy’s eyes, letting you nail down focus with action shots.puppy photoshoot: an image of a puppy chewing on a red rope


9. Use Props to Entertain Puppies and Add Interest

Incorporating props can add interest and personality to your puppy photoshoot. Experiment with props to see what captures your puppy’s attention and reveals their unique character.

Chew toys, old shoes, or puppy treats are a great way to entertain and control your pup. Include household items or a fully grown dog in your photo for scale. Sticks can be messy indoors, so why not try a carrot stick as a healthy alternative?
photoshoot for puppies: an image of a grey puppy in glasses reading books


10. Use a Shallow Depth of Field to Spotlight the Puppy

Consider using a shallow depth of field to draw attention to your adorable puppy subject. This technique uses a wide aperture to blur the background. This emphasizes focus on the pup. And it creates a captivating image highlighting their cuteness.

To further separate the puppy from its surroundings, use a telephoto lens. Remember that the amount of the picture in focus also depends on the distance between you, the puppy, and the background.puppy photoshoot: an image of a puppy standing on a ledge against a blue sky


11. Tire Puppies Out for Better Photos

Before your puppy photoshoot, engage them in playful activities to help burn off excess energy. A tired puppy is likelier to sit still and cooperate during the shoot. This lets you capture precious moments without constant motion.

A tired puppy is also a more manageable puppy. After they have performed daring feats of climbing, chewing, and licking your camera, they will be easier to photograph. If they fall completely asleep, you can take some time to get photos without them running out of frame.
puppy photoshoot: an image of two sleeping puppies


12. Get Close to Highlight Details

After your puppy has expended some energy, take advantage of their calm demeanor to take intimate close-up shots. Focus on details like their paw pads, nose texture, or favorite toy. This can showcase the unique characteristics that make your puppy special.

You can use a macro lens to pick out features. Or use a wide-angle lens to incorporate environmental props. Puppies often bond with a favorite toy or blanket. So you can incorporate these as foreground interests.
idea for puppy photoshoot: an image of a white puppy sleeping with its favourite toy


13. Use Contrasting Textures Alongside Puppies

Incorporate different textures into your puppy photoshoot. This can add depth and visual interest to your pup portraits. It will make viewers want to smoosh those fuzzy little faces even more!

Experiment with contrasting textures. For instance, offset soft fur against rough fabric like a burlap sack. Or show smooth hair surfaces against a shaggy carpet. These juxtapositions create compelling compositions.
textures in puppy photography: an image of a puppy sleeping on a purple rug


14. Use Color to Make Puppy Images Pop

Experiment with color to enhance the visual impact of your puppy photos. Consider using backgrounds or props with complementary or contrasting colors. These make your furry subject stand out and create dynamic, eye-catching images.

Dark-colored dogs are easier to capture on light color backdrops. Make sure your subject doesn’t blend into the background.
color in puppy photography: an image of a beige puppy against a plain beige background


15. Place Puppies in Props for Cute Shots

Explore creative ways to incorporate your puppy into various settings or props. This makes for irresistibly cute photos and adds whimsy and charm to your photoshoot. 

Place your puppy in cozy or unexpected places. It can be a puppy blanket, a decorative box, or an old suitcase. A puppy in or on anything can be cuteness overload!
a group of puppies photographed sleeping in a suitcase


Conclusion: Prepare Well for a Puppy Photoshoot

There is nothing as exciting as getting a new puppy. But a puppy photoshoot is not just about capturing adorable images. It’s also about cherishing the memories of a beloved companion’s early days.

Armed with these expert tips, capture cute new family members in adorable ways. And create timeless keepsakes to treasure for years to come! It won’t be long before your puppy photoshoot becomes a full-grown dog photoshoot!

Learn how to capture happy memories and beautiful photos of your dog with Perfect Pawtraits!