Golden retriever
Digital Photography Tips, Dogs


There are 3 things that matter in property: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

The above phrase is said to have been coined by Lord Harold Samuel, a British property tycoon.  Now, while a good location is not the be-all and end-all of a photo shoot, throw in some beautiful light and it can help to add that extra special touch to your images.

Golden retriever and black labrador photoshoot outdoor

The last few weeks I’ve been scouting Sedgefield and nearby areas for potential doggie photo shoot locations.  Here are some images from a recent practice shoot in a new location with some helpful tips of what I’ve learned about outdoor shoots so far:

Black labrador outdoor shoot
Ruby is not the most elegant model

6 tips for an outdoor dog photography shoot

  • DISTRACTIONS – Find a location that has no distracting elements for example, screaming children, ducks or rabbits.
  • SAFETY FIRST – If you are in a location where you think you can let the dog off leash then make sure that the animal is safe and unlikely to harm itself or anyone else in any way.
  • TIRED DOGS MAKE GOOD MODELS – Tire those suckers out first!  Let the dogs sniff and run and explore for at least 15 minutes first.  Trying to get hyper dogs to sit or lie still is an impossible task.
Golden retriever off lead outdoor shoot
Off lead, yay!
Black labrador pet photography
Running and playing is thirsty work!
  • WATER, TOWELS, GROOMING BRUSH – Once the dogs have tired themselves out they will be panting and thirsty, make sure you have water for them to drink and a towel to wipe those gobby, watery jowls before you take any shots.  A grooming brush can come in handy if you need to zhush up the dogs coat a bit and brush out any dead grass or leaves.
  • BACKGROUND –  Find dark, interesting backgrounds for your images like a belt of trees or a rustic wooden building.  Avoid including too much sky in the background of your image because you will be exposing for your subject and the sky may end up looking over exposed and blown out.
  • LIGHT – the magic or golden hour in photography is the first and last hour of sunlight (sunrises and sunsets).  The sun is low in the sky and the light is soft, warm and beautiful.  As the seasons change the golden hour time will change but you can use this handy online golden hour calculator to help you find out when the golden hour occurs in your neck of the woods.  This doesn’t mean that the golden hour is the only time you can shoot but it does make for beautiful lighting and creates a lovely mood in your images, it’s also great for back-lit shots.  Shade is excellent too, ensure that your subject is looking out of the shade towards a brighter area so that you can capture the catchlights in the eyes.  Also, the closer your subject is to the border or edge of the shade the prettier the light will be.
Pet photography, photo shoot
Not the most ladylike dog in the world but we love her ♥

pet photography

One last image of Paddy lying near the snowdrops looking at though butter wouldn’t melt, notice the sun setting through the trees top right of image.  Padinski is lying at the edge of the shade can you see how creamy and soft the light is on his fur?

There you have it peeps,  you know my mantra by now, if this post helps at least one person with their pet photography, then I’m a happy little sausage.

All my love

moi ♥


  1. Your pics are the BEST ever Moi! Love seeing a new post pop up in my mailbox :). Great tips…wish you would run a online photography course!! 😉


    1. Thanks Char, so nice of you to say. Umm I’m sort of working on something, it’s taking a bit of a back seat though while I get more practice in, I’m not ready to start charging yet but soon. Maybe late next year I’ll look at the course?


  2. Great tips that I like to use myself but used now and then since getting back to photography 2 years ago. I am not doing pro work so I’m not that particular anymore. Used to do mosty indoor settings and now wish that I had the time to photograph a lot and in the manner that I like. The dogs are beautiful.


    1. Well in the absence of other models at the moment, I have to use my own dogs and thank you I also think they are beautiful. Just a tad biased 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment. My goal is to do pro work one day, getting there one step at a time ♥



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