Capture stunning pet portraits this Summer

dog in a field pet portrait photography
Nikon Z 7II + 85mm f/1.4G ƒ/1.8 ; 1/640 ; ISO 320 (Image credit: Audrey Bellot)

My name is Audrey Bellot, I am 24 years old, and I live in the middle of France in Auvergne with my dog Laos, a Border Collie coming from a shelter. Since 2018, I decided to specialize in dog portrait photography. I have always been passionate about animals, especially dogs, they are incredibly patient, full of love and are always ready to make you happy.  

I had the chance to grow up with animals since my childhood. They showed me how much we should live and be happy with simple things. Then, my passion for photography arrived. And so now, I travel for photo shoots for amazing dog owners, but also and workshops for anyone who wants to learn how to create such portraits. Each photo has its own story, thanks to the dog, the place and the moment we shared. With patience and gentleness, you can create the most beautiful portraits of your dog.

Check out more of Audrey's amazing work via her Instagram

(Image credit: Audrey Bellot)

01. Speak their language

Before a session with dogs, always make sure that you know enough about them. The first things you need to learn are dog's calming signals. Dogs communicate with their bodies.  When they are happy, playful, stressed or simply relaxed, dogs change the position of their ears, their mouths, but also the shape of their eyes. Learn how to detect these signals in dogs.

(Image credit: Audrey Bellot)

02. A careful approach

How do you approach a dog during a photo shoot? Firstly, always ask the owners several information about their dog (age, breed, allergies, friendly or not with humans and dogs, etc.). Secondly, do not approach a dog you do not in a frontal way. Instead, get down to his level and let the dog come to you with treats in hand.

back of camera dog portraits

(Image credit: Audrey Bellot)

03. Motivate the dog

Do not come empty-handed. Most dogs need to be motivated to pose more easily while standing still. Dogs can be motivated by many things: tasty treats and toys are my two favourites. This allows you to both motivate the dog and reward him for his work. You can also use sounds and words that the dog likes to see his expression change.

(Image credit: Audrey Bellot)

04. Take breaks

Dogs cannot explicitly tell you that they are tired, although communication signals will alert you. Always take several breaks between photos as a session can be very long for a dog that is not used to it. Also, if the dog does not want to do something, change your mind. Ask for something simpler so you do not discourage him

dog and photographer

(Image credit: Audrey Bellot)

05. Choose your view

Most of the time, I position myself at eye level and always leave space in the direction of the dog's eyes. Of course, do not forget to vary the angles to give the viewer different impressions. Up and down angles can also work in dog photography as long as the environment and the emotion you want to bring out are suitable.

Read more:

Best professional cameras
Best lighting kits
Best reflectors
Best backdrops
Best portrait lenses

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