How to Take the Best Autumn Pictures of Your Dog

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on October 6th, 2021
photo by Kristyna Kvapilova

There’s no time like fall to practice your dog photography skills. Not only do those stunning autumn colors make the perfect background for your pupfluencer-to-be, but your dog will also have a blast sniffing out the crunchiest leaf while you snap pic after pic.

If you have a DSLR camera collecting dust in your closet, this is your chance to put it to good use. And if not, no worries! You can learn how to take amazing autumn pictures with nothing more than the camera app on your phone. Follow these fall dog photography tips, and surprise yourself with your camera skills!

Get familiar with lighting
You don’t have to be a pro photographer to know that lighting can make or break a good shot. Too much direct sunlight can wash out your furry subject, while the darker days can make your pooch look downright spooky. To perfectly capture the season’s warm hues, try shooting during the golden hour or on days when there’s some cloud cover. You might also find areas with indirect sunlight for a nice filtered effect.

That said, don’t leave your camera at home if you feel like the lighting won’t be ideal! Lighting can change quickly, and you don’t want to miss any opportunities. Plus, you can always try a bit of at-home editing to bring more light to your photos later.

Scout out the best autumn scenes in your area
As a Pacific Northwest-based company, we at BreezeGuard are absolutely spoiled when it comes to fall foliage! A simple walk around the neighborhood or trip to the dog park present plenty of opportunities for autumn photography. And, it’s practically a tradition to load up the dogs—with BreezeGuard Screens for safety!—and head to the hills for fun fall day trips. 

No matter where you and your canine model are located, do a quick search of the best spots for fall photography in your area. You might even poke around online photography forums to get the inside scoop from your local pros and photography enthusiasts. 

Your pupper will love the adventure, and you’ll get in some great practice taking photos in new settings.

Don’t be afraid to get low
Here’s the bad news: you might end up sacrificing your clothes to the mud, dirt, and brambles in order to get the perfect shot. That’s because, in order to take great photos of doggos, you have to get down on their level. 

Now, there are a couple of clever tricks that you can use if you’re not wild about walking around with mud stains on your pants and leaves in your hair. 

One, you can find a shooting location with hills or ridges so that your pup can have the higher ground while you take pictures (just make sure to be mindful of your own footing!) Or two, you can use a selfie stick to get the upward angled shot without having to get low yourself. Simply hold the selfie stick like a golf club or metal detector with the camera angled up towards your dog.

Try getting your dog’s attention
Unless you have a camera that can capture action shots, keeping your dog’s attention for a few moments at a time will be key to getting non-blurry pictures. You’ll also find that pet portraits, in which your dog is looking at you or the camera, make more interesting photos than when your pooch has got their snoot in a pile of leaves.

To be sure, it can be tricky to win your furry friend’s focus when there are so many exciting birds, leaves, and breezes to see and sniff. So, make sure that you come prepared. That could mean a bag of your dog’s favorite toys or a pocketful of treats that you can use to get your dog’s attention.

You can also prepare in advance by teaching your dog a “look at me” command at home. If your doggo learns that they’ll get treats or verbal praise for looking at you, your photoshoots will be a success! 

Keep your pup’s eyes in focus
At the moment that your dog is still enough for a picture, make sure that the camera is focused on their face. In particular, you’ll want their eyes to be totally in focus. This can be counter-intuitive—aren’t we out here capturing the beauty of autumn?—but you’ll get better pictures when your subject is crystal clear. Even if the background is slightly out of focus, you’ll capture the essence of the season!

Don’t be shy with the shutter button!
One of the most common mistakes that beginner photographers make is not taking enough photos. It’s so easy to get trapped in the mindset of the lighting isn’t right or my dog is about to move or any number of other factors that you end up missing a perfectly good shot. Instead, just go for it! The beauty of digital photography is that you can delete the photos you don’t like. But, you can’t go back and get the photos you missed!

Enjoy the process
There’s nothing better than enjoying the fall season with your pupper, a camera, and maybe even a travel mug with your favorite autumn drink (we love a good apple cider, but maybe you’re more of a pumpkin spice latte fan!) And, by the end of your fun-filled day of leaf crunching and picture taking, you might just have the perfect pic for your holiday cards! 

Have fun building your fall dog photography skills!  

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