Tips for Getting Great Pics of Your Dog at Home

By Caitlin Nightingale, guest blogger

Scrolling through social media can sometimes make you feel like the photos you take of your pets don’t quite measure up. I’ve been professionally photographing dogs for more than 10 years and I have two dogs of my own with whom I’m obsessed. So believe me, I get proud pet parents’ desire to capture successful snaps! Here are five easy-peasy tips to help you get better pictures of your furry family member with your phone*.

The right lighting will revolutionize your photos. Try to make sure your pup is facing a window or light source so that they are nicely illuminated. That way, your photo will better show off their cute snoot and dazzling personality.

High Value Treats and Trigger Words
Think about what gets—and holds— your dog’s attention long enough to get the photo you want. I typically use treats to get a dog’s attention and get them positioned where the lighting is best. Once they are sitting or laying down, I use their favorite trigger words or phrases to get them to look at the phone and get the shot.

Get on Their Level
Unless you have a giant breed, you are typically looking down on your pup’s head. So have a seat and photograph them at their eye level.

Use Portrait Mode if You Have It
This one might be a no-brainer, but using Portrait Mode on your phone can really amp up your dog photos. Just make sure to tap on your dog’s face on your phone screen to make sure they’re in focus, and then the background should blur nicely behind them.

Using an app to make a couple of quick edits can really punch up your photograph! VSCO, Lightroom, and Afterlight are all great apps for photo editing. Or you can always use your phone’s own photos app to improve the contrast and add some brightness!

BONUS TIP: Just Take the Photo!
If your dog is being adorable – just take the photo! I take tons of non-Instagram-worthy photos of my dogs simply because they’re doing something adorable. In fact, most messages between my husband and I each day are near-identical photos of our dogs over and over because they’re lying on the couch being so cute. Are they always great photos? Nope! But they capture our dogs being themselves and that’s what really matters.

*These tips all work for cameras too.

If mixing some professional photos of your pup into your album is desired, I’ll be next door to Downtown Dogs at Dog’s Day Out on Tuesday, February 7. You can sign up here to have your dog(s) photographed on their own or with you. Photos are delivered digitally on the same day they are taken—just in time to share some puppy love for Valentines Day!

Photo Sign Up


Caitlin Nightingale is owner of Caitlin Nightingale Photography She’s been partnering with Downtown Dogs to offer periodic mini-sessions to our customers since 2019. Caitlin and her husband, Thomas, are parents of Ava, a nine-year-old Pittie mix, and Oscar, a four-year-old Beagle mix (pictured together above). Caitlin says she enjoys connecting with our customers, “I already know they are smart and caring dog parents, since they’ve chosen Downtown Dogs as the best daycare or boarding option for their pooch.” She also enjoys watching our team members, “It’s incredible how employees love each and every dog that comes through their door—almost as much as the dog’s owner!”