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15 Puppy Photoshoot Tips (Too Cute to Handle)

Last updated: November 12, 2023 - 5 min read
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Everything a puppy does is super cute. This is an objective fact, so you would think a puppy photoshoot would be easy—but this is not the case. 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 immortalise a friend’s, these are our top tips for a successful puppy photoshoot.

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1. Wrangle a Puppy Photoshoot with Help

Ask a friend or the owner to act as a puppy wrangler. The second you pay attention to the puppy, they will want to be all over you. Having someone reset them to their starting point at the other end of the garden (for example) will make the puppy photoshoot run smoother. If the owner is there to help you out, take the opportunity to photograph them together.
cute puppy photo tip: an image of a woman in pink holding her puppy against a pink background

2. Get on Their Level

Puppies are small, so to get action shots of running and playing, you must get down to their level. Laying down and taking photos will help your composition, fill the frame with their cuteness, and allow you to separate them from the background.
puppy photoshoot idea: an low image of a puppy running toward the camera

3. Think About the Background

To make your pup stand out, remove clutter from the space where you are shooting. A sheet, blanket, or towel can provide a consistent, clean backdrop for perfect puppy portraits if you are inside.
puppy photo idea: an image of a grey puppy sitting against a white background

4. Go Natural

For best results, try and take your photos using natural light. If you are taking photos indoors, use a window with a voil for a large softbox effect. Good lighting can make or break 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. Embrace the Wild Outdoors

You want to see that little nose in all its glory. Having the sun directly overhead will cause shadows you could do without. Shoot in the morning or early evening to make the most of the warm glow from a low sun.
cute puppy photoshoot idea: an image of a golden puppy sitting in a green garden

6. A Fast Shutter for Fast Animals

Unlike a dog photoshoot, where they will ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, puppies are into everything. They move all the time. If you want to see their features and not just a fur blur, crank up your shutter speed to 1/500 or faster.
cute puppy photographed: an image of a puppy rolling in the grass using fast shutter speed

7. Use Burst Mode

Burst mode is your friend. It does mean sorting through more shots when you come to import. But catching that moment when they shake that oversize toy is worth the disk space. Burst mode will be 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 Eyes

Unless you are taking a photo of a floppy ear tip or a close up of a tiny paw, focusing on the eyes will help your viewer engage emotionally with your subject. Check if your camera has a pet mode. The Sony range has eye AF for animals. This will focus track the puppy’s eyes, allowing you to nail action shots.
puppy photoshoot: an image of a puppy chewing on a red rope

9. Use Props

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

10. Go ‘Shallow’

To further separate your subject from the surroundings, use a telephoto lens. Keep in mind the amount of the picture in focus depends on the distance between you, puppy, and background. Gardens offer the most space to experiment with and lots of exciting things to explore.
puppy photoshoot: an image of a puppy standing on a ledge against a blue sky

11. Tire Them Out

A tired puppy is a manageable puppy. Once 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 disappearing out of frame.
puppy photoshoot: an image of two sleeping puppies

12. Get Close

Once they are tired, you can use a wide-angle lens to pick out features. The pads on their paws, the texture of their nose, the dribbly toy they nap with. Puppies often bond with a favourite toy or blanket, so try to incorporate these as foreground interest.
idea for puppy photoshoot: an image of a white puppy sleeping with its favourite toy

13. Use Texture

Offset soft fur against a rough burlap sack or smooth hair against a shaggy rug. The use of texture will enhance your viewers desire to smoosh that fuzzy little face.
textures in puppy photography: an image of a puppy sleeping on a purple rug

14. Think About Color

Use matching or complementary colors to make your puppy blend in or stand out. Dark color dogs are easier to capture on light color backgrounds.
color in puppy photography: an image of a beige puppy against a plain beige background

15. Puppy Placement

Let’s face it, a puppy in or on anything is cuteness overload. If you can move the sleepy puppy to a basket, teacup, watering can, or household item, you are going to get a fantastic photo.
a group of puppies photographed sleeping in a suitcase


There is nothing as exciting as getting a new puppy. Use these top tips to capture your cute new family member in adorable ways. It will not 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!

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