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8 Tips For Photographing A Shy Dog

Do you have a dog that looks away the second you click to take a photo? Do you have more “ghostly” images of your pet instead of cute, clear ones? It isn’t always easy to snag a good shot of your dog, especially when they have this knack for posing for the perfect picture…only to suddenly get camera shy and ruin it. Well, I have two of those adorable creatures but I’ve figured out ways to work around their shyness. It’s like they suddenly know what you’re trying to do, or that they fear the very camera itself. Whatever the reason, I’ve managed to still be a proud and happy furmom, gathering up a decent portfolio of Chewie and Zoey. Check out some of my tips below on how to take photos of a shy dog and give them a try!

FYI: I have come to realize that secretly snagging some pics from my phone has proven the easiest route, and mostly because I always have my smartphone on me (all of the photos listed below were taken from my phone). These days, phones have pretty good cameras on them; I photographed my entire honeymoon to Disney World with just my smartphone (that will be a later post, so stay tuned) since I wasn’t fond of lugging my DSLR all around the parks and on the rides. Regardless of what you use, being sneaky with a shy dog is key!

Another FYI: I tend to make them black and white because the graininess reminds me of old film photographs.

  1. Be ready, call their name, and then click! This is probably the most obvious option to try, and somehow, my dogs will still know what I’m up to. However, I’ve been lucky a couple times with this method!My favorite shoes and favorite sheltie.My pretty girl doing her Marilyn Monroe pose over the air vent.

    Zoey doing her Marilyn Monroe pose over the air vent.

  2. If using a smartphone, try holding the phone away from your face. Maybe this sounds a little silly, but I’ve found that after awhile, my dogs began to realize what I was trying to do when I held my phone up in front of me. So, when I had them in my view finder, I’d lift my eyes from the screen and look at them or pretend to be looking at something else before snapping a photo. It has worked with my DSLR a couple times as well.

    The adorable little mutt, Chewie.

    Chewie was sitting on my lap, so I held the phone away from me but in front of him. Calling his name, I took the shot as he adorably looked over at me.

    Beautiful bi-blue sheltie posing for the camera.

    She almost looks too tired to care at my silly attempts at photographing her. Lol.

  3. Try a different angle. This is similar to #2 in the sense that you aren’t looking at your screen…but this is being a little less obvious and not holding it right in front of them where they can see it.

    Happy girl!

    I love this one so much. She’s just so happy, excited…and oblivious. Haha. Here, I was playing fetch with her, and as she came back and dropped the ball in front of me, I had my smartphone resting on the floor, ready to snap the photo.

    Close up of a cute sheltie nose!

  4. Lookit that adorable sheltie nose! She was peering over the edge of the bed to see what I was up to.

  5. Take a photo while they’re playing, distracted and happily amused. Treats usually always work, too!

    Zoey bringing the ball back to me. She loves playing fetch!

    Same as one of the images above, she was happily playing fetch with me; too excited to notice me snapping a photo of her on my phone. Candid photography at its best.

    Zoey doesn't like her new haircut!

    Someone didn’t like her haircut and bath! But she certainly paid attention to me when I showed her I had a yummy cookie for her. 😛

  6. When they aren’t looking. Okay, so this is another pretty obvious one, but it works!

    Zoey silently questioning Chewie about whether or not going out in the snow would be a good idea.

    They were so amazed by the amount of snow we were getting and kept staring out the sliding doors. I love how Zoey is looking over at Chewie, silently asking him if going out will be such a good idea.

  7. Take a photo when they are comfortable. Maybe they are so tired that they simply don’t care? Perhaps they are curled up on their favorite blanket…or on your bed that they claim as their own.

    Zoey cuddling with her daddy. This shy dog is too tired and comfortable to care.

  8. Or perhaps they are completely happy and comfortable in Daddy’s arms.

  9. When they are asleep. Photographs of adorable, sleeping dogs is always cute!

    My sleepy Chewie on the couch.

    Awww, a sleepy Chewie.

    Uh oh! Chewie caught me trying to snag a photo of him!

    Be careful, though…they might catch you!

  10. Sometimes, they’ll simply surprise you. So be ready!

    Such soulful, expressionate eyes.

    As I was resting on the couch, Zoey came over and placed her head on my lap. She looked so cute that I had to try and snap a picture! Casually petting her head, I carefully took out my phone and she didn’t seem to care. For once. 🙂

So, those are just some tips I’ve used when trying to photograph my two very shy dogs. Sometimes you’ll luck out and get a very photogenic pet, but do not fret if they tend to turn away from the camera! Patience and some secret and tricky photographing skills can get you the precious photos you are hoping for.