How to Get Nice Puppy Portraits (Hint: It’s Not Easy)

Want to take some nice puppy portraits? Here are some quick tips!

Vancouver photographer Alastair Bird recently took on a fun challenge of photographing his adorable puppy Lucy in his studio. Shenanigans ensue, as does lots of bribing with treats and sticks to get her to pose. Alastair shared with us how the session went down. Hint: It wasn’t easy!

“It was a whole lot harder than I expected,” Alastair said. Puppies have boundless energy and want to play all the time, so you can just imagine why it’s often a challenge. Still, he was able to get a handful of nice shots at the end of their session.

Watch Alastair try to take decent puppy portraits of Lucy, and talk about what you can do if you want to take on this challenge:

In his studio, Alastair decided to work with natural light and get shots of Lucy close to the window so he could get a decent exposure. With the big windows and great natural light, Alastair didn’t have to worry about Lucy stepping into the shadows. For his gear, he used a Nikon D500 with a Sigma 50mm 1.4. He set his camera to f/2.8 and ISO 500 and blasted away.

Since working with pets can be a whole new ball game, Alastair’s number one tip is to be patient. Very patient. It’s not easy to get a rambunctious puppy to sit still or stay, especially if they already think of you as a constant playtime buddy.

Getting different angles is also particularly challenging, as we see it the video. You’d want to have puppy portraits showing your furbaby’s cuteness from as many angles as possible. But as Alastair explained, it’s not easy to get down to Lucy’s eye level because she thinks it’s an invitation to play, grab some treats or toys, or lay close to his lap.

So, what’s the key takeaway from this? Take your time, let your puppy do their own thing, be on the look out for possible interesting poses or angles, and just make the most out of the shoot. Oh, and always be ready with treats and toys.

Don’t forget to check out Alastair Bird’s YouTube channel for more of his photography tips and tricks!