You probably love taking photos and videos of your siblings and children. Yet you cannot forget about your dog when creating adorable content. After all, your pet is part of your family, too.

Of course, getting your dog to cooperate for the camera can be difficult.  Shooting an animal also requires some extra skills and strategies that you would not necessarily need when filming or photographing humans. Here are a few tips that should help you create great content for your pet.

Learn the Basics

Before you get your dog ready for his close-up, you should at least have some understanding of what makes good pictures and videos. This means learning a bit about photography and cinematography. Study how changing the background or lighting can alter the story you are trying to tell.

Knowing how to properly edit the footage is important, as well. There are several free editing applications that you can download. If you want to create really  high-quality videos, consider purchasing Adobe Premiere Pro. You can then research how to crop a video in Premiere and how to use the program’s other tools.

Get the Right Equipment

To truly put your newly earned skills to use, you will need the proper camera. If you plan to capture your dog at agility events, invest in a zoom lens. If you want to include the surrounding audio as part of your footage, you should get a microphone attachment, as well.

A digital single-lens reflex camera, also known as a DSLR, can give your home movies a true Hollywood. Keep in mind, however, that these cameras can be difficult to focus when making videos. The large camera could also spook your pet.

A smartphone may thus be a better option, particularly if your dog gets scared easily. Your pet is probably used to your cell. Most cell phones also include an auto-focus feature that is particularly helpful when shooting a moving animal. If you do opt for your smartphone, be sure to hold the camera horizontally rather than vertically. For a truly unique look at what your dog sees every day, you could also purchase a GoPro and place it on your pet’s head.

Train and Practice

Unlike humans, a dog will not automatically obey your commands. You will first have to train your pet to sit and stay on command. You can also teach your dog some cool tricks that he can show off in front of the cameras. 

Before you turn on the camera, practice the skills or movements that you want your dog to perform. After all, pets need rehearsal, too. 

As part of your preparation, you should figure out exactly what motivates your dog to perform on cue. If your dog is camera shy, you can bribe him with treats. However, you should start with a fairly low-value treat. Otherwise, your whole video will just be your pet begging you for food.

Let Your Pet Get Acquainted With the Surroundings

This is particularly important if you plan to film in an unfamiliar location. Even a usually calm dog can get stressed in a new environment. Give your pet a few minutes to sniff the scene and any objects that you plan to include in the film or picture.

Be Patient

Even if your dog has time to learn his surroundings, he may not be fully ready to act when you turn on the cameras. If that is the case, you should take the opportunity to film wide shots of the surroundings. Just be ready to hit the zoom button when your dog starts to act. You can also shoot close-ups to draw in your audience.

Get Down and Dirty

Videos filmed from a standing position usually only capture a dog’s head. To get the perfect shot, kneel down and get to your dog’s level.

Hire Helpers

Holding a camera and controlling a dog are tasks that each require full attention. It is nearly impossible to do both of these things at once. You should thus consider having a friend or relative handle the photography or videography duties. You can then focus on giving your pet the proper command.

Have Fun

Your dog can sense when you are stressed. Try to keep things light and have fun. This will ensure that both you and your pet enjoy the experience.  

The above suggestions should help you create footage of your dog that you can treasure forever. Your pup may even become a viral video star!


About the Author: Kevin Gardner works as a business consultant and unwinds by getting out of the office to spend time with his dogs, Stuart and Pepper. He enjoys writing about the things he’s learned as a pupper parent and loves to share his insights to help others.