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Dog People: Celebrate Dress up Your Pet Day with these quirky animal portraits

Monday 14 January is Dress Up Your Pet Day (yes, it's an actual thing) and, love 'em or hate 'em, pets in people clothes make a popular photo subject. 

When we recently spoke to Sandra Müller about her latest book Dog People, we found out how and why she wanted to photograph animals looking like humans.

Sandra is the proud owner of Maja, a Bernese Mountain Dog

Sandra is the proud owner of Maja, a Bernese Mountain Dog

Meet Sandra...

"I have been a big animal lover since childhood – from guinea pigs to my aunt’s dog, who I spent entire summer vacations with. As a photographer, I can live a creative life and also spend a lot of time with animals and people. 

Today, I’m the proud owner of Maja, the ‘most beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog mix in the world,’ (of course, she is in the book) and have found my calling. 

I especially enjoy the closeness to animals and I love to work with them. I bought my first SLR camera at 14, and at 23 now shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II."

See more of Sandra's work on her website.

The story behind Sandra's 'Dog people'

When taking photos, it’s important to me to respond to every character, whether human or animal, individually. Dog People doesn’t only show dog portraits, but a panoply of human characters, too.

Sandra Müller

"These images aren't meant to be a fashion show for dogs and owners. 

I wanted to provide creative photographic answers to the question: “What kind of person would this dog be?” Whether it’s Great Dane Holly as a couch potato or ‘Gismo’ riding a Harley.

I specialise in portraits of people and dogs, and feel that it’s important to capture the personality of my subjects. 

The series is a colourful parade of dogs, from Giant Schnauzers to Pugs, from registered purebreds to street mutts.

83 images make up the book Dog People, published by teNeues, along with a humorous description of each dog explaining how the outfits were chosen."

How to photograph your own pets

Sandra’s shots are proof you don’t need expensive lenses to get stunning results. She’s used a budget EF 50mm lens and artificial lights to illuminate the dogs in the same way as a human portrait.

"I worked in a controlled studio environment using similar settings, so that each shot was visually consistent throughout the book (f/8 and ISO160). I also used the same lens: the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 (opens in new tab)

It’s the lightest and least expensive Canon lens in the range, but still gives sharp images, excellent colour balance and contrast, and is great for portraits."

Sandra has great animal magnetism, and an understanding of her subjects has proved invaluable for capturing great dog portraits.

The catch light in the eyes makes the furry subjects look bright and alive.

Find out more about Dog People

Sandra’s book Dog People is out now, published by teNeues.

Sandra’s book Dog People is out now (opens in new tab), published by teNeues.
(opens in new tab)

About Dress up your Pet Day and animal welfare

If you decide to dress your furry friends, make sure that they're safe and comfortable. Don't force them to do anything they don't want to do.

The outfit shouldn't limit your pet's movement or their ability to breathe.

Discover more inspiration for Dress up Your Pet day at https://www.dressupyourpetday.com/about-us (opens in new tab)

The best pet camera (opens in new tab)

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Lauren Scott
Managing Editor

Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 


An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.