This Saturday is World Photography Day, celebrating the art, science and history of photography. Immortalising your hound in a professional photoshoot is a wonderful way to celebrate the unique role they play in your life, but just an hour or two with a pet pawtographer can be expensive. At a time when UK households are suffering income cuts and escalating cost of living, paying £200+ for a professional shoot seems, frankly, barking mad. So, in honour of World Photography Day, we’ve gathered some trade secrets for capturing your canine on camera yourself!

Whether you’ve photographed your hound in an action shot or they’ve posed for a more formal session, we’d love to see your works of bark!

Post your pics on social media with the hashtag #WorldPhotographyDay and #THEPACKPET, tagging @thepackpet, and the pawrent who snaps our favourite photo will win 24 tins of THE PACK, while our 2nd favourite will win 12 tins and our 3rd favourite will win 6 tins, ensuring your pup keeps well-fuelled on their Next Top Dog Model journey. 

If you don't have social media, you can still enter by emailing us a pic of your pooch to 

  • Play to your pup’s personality. If your feisty fido can’t stay still for the camera, use that to your advantage rather than fighting it; after all, the more fun your dog’s having, the more engaging your photos will be! Take a camera outside and capture your pooch mid-air, leaping for a ball or bounding towards you: use continuous shooting (‘burst’) mode to take lots of pictures within seconds, showing all the wonderful expressions and gestures they make while in motion. Photographing your dog doing what he or she loves might be more unpredictable than a posed shot but, with some practice, you’ll see your pawtography come on in leaps and bounds! 

On the other end of the scale, if you’ve got a drowsy doggo, you can enjoy additional control of the setting and lighting, switching to manual focus to zoom in on specific parts of their face or body and take sharper photos. Use treats to draw their eye to the camera lens and try to shoot them in natural poses. If your dog has a favourite toy, consider bringing that into the frame too; a far better option than using lots of props or costumes that your dog isn’t familiar with and might shy away from.  

  • Join in the fun. The fastest way to make your dog feel at ease in front of the camera is to be there with them! Don’t be afraid to set up a timer and step onto the other side of the lens, experimenting with different interactions. If your pup loves tummy tickles, you could snap a close-up with your hand on their stomach or, for well-trained pooches, photograph them jumping up to high-five you. This is a pawsome way to immortalise your unique relationship!
  • Experiment with different backgrounds. Put on your walking shoes and take your dog and your camera outside, whether in the countryside, local park or on the beach. Equally, add interest to indoor photo sessions by changing up the environment, moving from dog bed to sofa to a favourite rug. Including some features of the background in the photo helps tell a story about your pup. And if you’re shooting outside, it goes without saying to leave the landscape as you found it! Manipulating nature for photos can cause damage to ecosystems, as can leaving litter behind. In fact, why not use your shoot as an opportunity to do a bit of a beach or woodland clean-up?

Alternatively, create your own studio backdrop at home! Paint some cardboard black to create a dark background that puts the spotlight on your hound and use a lamp to get different shadow effects. Or use a white wall or sheet to really make your pooch stand out. You can make your own reflector to cast an even amount of light on your subject: a large sheet of white paper or a sheet of foil should do the trick. If you’re aiming for a blank background, make sure there’s nothing cluttering the shot: Photoshop can only do so much!

  • Consider your lighting. If you’re relying on natural lighting, one of the best times to shoot is the ‘golden hour’: just after sunrise or just before sunset, when the sun creates a hazy, soft atmosphere. Otherwise, cloudy days are your friend! Harsh direct midday light creates annoying shadows; overcast skies give you a much clearer image. If you need to use a flash, make sure you acclimatise your dog to the bright trigger beforehand. You can do that using positive reinforcement i.e., give him or her a treat every time you activate the flash. 
  • Use your dog’s eyes as the focal point. Just like with human portraits, focussing on your hound’s big brown eyes makes for emotive imagery and allows you to capture not just their individuality, but how they’re feeling at that very moment! Using a wide aperture (f/2.8 or lower) is a great way to do this. You can also crouch, kneel or lie down with the camera to get on your dog’s eye level, creating much more inventive shots. 
  • Use a wide-angle lens for less formal images. Wide-angle lenses have short focal lengths, helping you to zoom in on a feature of your dog’s face to create funny and unusual pictures – try photographing your pup with their tongue out or panting a big doggy smile! 
  • Don’t be afraid to take a lot of photos! Professional pet photographer Alex Caerns takes between 100-300 images in a single shoot and picks 30 favourites, explaining “I like to capture more than I need to ensure I haven’t missed any of the poses I’m after.” Alex isn’t afraid to break the rules and take photos from all sorts of different perspectives, angles and vantage points, saying sometimes off-centre images are the most interesting.
  • Consider the environmental impact of your shoot. If you’re using a camera rather than a phone, you can choose between taking pics digitally or on film. The latter can create really special imagery but printing the photos can be environmentally damaging. Happily, there are ways to mitigate these harmful impacts! Consider a printing company that uses vegan printing inks instead of petroleum oil-based ones, which may also contain glycerin that derives from animal fat or colour from beetle shellac. Also, standard printed photographs can be difficult to recycle due to plastic in the paper and film coating. Switching to eco-friendly paper that can be recycled means your keepsakes will be reducing rather than adding to landfill. And most simply, be mindful about which photos you really want to print, with the added bonus that picking out the cream of the crop means you’re more likely to put those select photos on display, rather than having them sitting in a packet on your bookshelf. 

Finally, the most important thing when pawtraying your pooch is patience; never get annoyed with your dog for not ‘posing’ in the way you want them to or try to manhandle them into position. Your goal is for the photoshoot to be a fun and relaxed experience for both of you: you want photos of your dog looking happy and comfortable, not scared, frustrated or exhausted! Keep an eye on your pup’s body language during the shoot to make sure they’re still having fun. 

Below is an example from our Head Of Marketing Adam and his fur child Pablo...


We can’t wait to see you put these tips into practice, so don’t forget to tag us in your results! We will announce the winner on Sunday 27th August to give you plenty of time to shoot your pawtraits. 


If you want to discover more about raising a happy, healthy plant-based dog, download our FREE eBook

If you are yet to try our meals, you can get 20% off your 1st order with code THEPACK20

Or, you can get 30% off your 1st subscription with code PACKSUB30. Our subscribers also get 10% off all future deliveries, so you will always get our meals at the best possible price. 

Winner, winner, plant-based dinner!


Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment