Animal Portraits

No doubt about it, dogs are a mans best friend. They love you unconditionally, they’re always happy to see you when you get home and they don’t whinge about what your watching on the TV. But when it comes to animal portraits most dogs look at you like your a vet about to stick a thermometer up their butt.

I have spent countless hours working at getting great photos of the family dogs and occasionally I jag a good one. Over the holidays I set out to really take some personality capturing photos. I wanted to bring my animal portraits up to much higher consistent standard. Unfortunately unlike humans, they dont fully understand our commands so as a photographer you cant just direct them to move a bit to the left, chin down blah blah so it takes time and patience. But the results are well worth it. All animal lovers want great portraits of their pets, and it is a fun sideline to any photography business.



Meet George. Shes a 3 yr old Jack Russell, who is an exception to the rule when it comes to the camera. She is a naturally inquisitive dog and always comes up to see what its all about. But that is short lived. Her window of inquisitiveness is only about a minute, so you have to work quick. In this photo I had only just arrived and got out the camera, luckily I had it ready as she jumped up on my leg. I am shooting straight down on her so the dark carpet makes a great backdrop. Unfortunately I didnt have the SB-800 ready so I had to go with the Nikon D70s on camera flash.



One thing I have learnt when it comes to photographing unco-operative animals, is that food is your best friend. Especially for someone like George who absolutely loves her tucker. The hard thing with food though, as you can see in the photo above, is getting them to look natural. The look of intense concentration on her face is because someone is holding a schmacko for her camera left. But I really like this shot, because thats George. She loves her food and will just about do anything to get it. Her best performances come from wanting some of what you’ve got. We were on the verandah late afternoon for this shot so it gives a nice soft natural feel to the photo.



Meet Digby. He’s a 5yr old Schitzu cross Maltese. Very friendly, cuddly lap warmer of a dog. He is quite happy to just curl up and sleep next to you on the lounge. This shot worked because he has just finished a whole heap of twisties that he managed to get from somewhere and is trying to look innocent as though the evidence is still not on his chin. Thats just him. Little dog with a big personality, always looking like butter wouldnt melt in his mouth. This was shot using the Nikon D200 and SB-800 on camera, bounced off the ceiling.

So the secret to good animal portraits is the same as with humans. Build rapport with them, find out what their personality is like and try and capture it. I know you cant just sit down and have a chat with a dog but you can give them a pat, play a game and see how they react. Are they playful, cuddly, inquisitive, excitable or even full of attitude. From there its up to you to  just generally try and bring out their best. It might just take a little bit of time. Always have your camera ready, and be prepared to shoot from the hip while you throw a ball at the same time.

I am available for anyone wanting Animal Portraits of your furry friends. You can contact me via my contact page.


Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Great shots of a hard to capture subject. Love your site.

  2. the doggie are cute, nice photo you taken

  3. Love the second shot of the Jack Russell! I find that food is a great tool for animals (the same as toys for little kids) or a long lense that lets me remove myself from the action and capture that “natural” look. Great work!


  1. […] of their present, the in laws have since placed another order for some more canvas prints of the Animal Portraits I took for them. They are re-decorating their home and wanted some large prints of their […]

Speak Your Mind