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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."

Image 1 of 3

Ella, A Miniature Wire-Haired Dachshund complete with beanie hat

Ella, A Miniature Wire-Haired Dachshund complete with beanie hat

The catch light in the eyes of Sandra's subjects makes them look bright and alive.

Image 2 of 3

Dog Romero, in security outfit

Dog Romero, in security outfit
Image 3 of 3

Jella, with fur trim

Jella, with fur trim

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

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, published by teNeues.

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

The best pet camera

Lauren Scott

Lauren is the editor of Digital Photographer 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, she has served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera magazine. When taking photos in her spare time, Lauren can usually be found romping around the countryside or visiting the coast.