How to Photograph a Black Dog - Courtenay Photographer

One thing I hear often from dog owners is how hard it is to get a good photograph of their black dog. And yes, it is tricky, especially if you are using basic equipment like a phone camera. Like most people I love the convenience of my phone for quick snapshots, but it definitely doesn't measure up to my DSLR. For one thing, the ability to manually control the settings makes a big difference in being able to photograph a challenging subject like a black dog. 

Here are a few quick tips that should help you get better results when photographing your black dog, no matter what type of equipment you are using.

1. Even lighting:

Intuitively you might think that to get the best shot of your dog you need really bright light, like the sun. After all, you think, the dog is really dark so that would brighten them right up. That's not actually the best strategy. Soft, even lighting (think clouds or shade), will allow the camera to more accurately record the highlights and shadows, making for a more pleasing image. Too much bright sunlight will cause glare and harsh shadows, which you typically want to avoid. Also try to avoid dappled sunlight on your subject. It's just not very flattering, anytime, anywhere.

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2. Have a plain background:

Too much busyness in an image will draw the eye away from your black dog. Also, our eyes tend to be drawn to the brightest part of an image, and that can spell trouble when your subject is dark. So try to keep distractions to a minimum.

If you have a camera that you can adjust the aperture, try opening it up (which means a smaller number), so that you can blur out the background (the image below was taken with an aperture of 2.8). 

3. Fill the frame:

What, all you've got is an automatic setting and you're out in the sunshine? Well, try this: instead of including the environment, fill your camera's frame with your dog as the only subject. What this will do is force your camera to expose for your dog only, instead of a bright scene where there will likely be too much light and throw off the exposure. This will help the camera expose correctly and will help you avoid having your dog end up as a "black blob".

black dog

I hope these quick tips help you out the next time you are photographing your black dog! As you can imagine, I love photographing dogs of any colour, so please get in touch if you would like information on a professional portrait session for your pet. My phone number is: (250) 650-7389.

I'll leave you with one of my new favourite images, another black dog, Onyx, who just happens to be my next-door neighbour!

onyx black dog