photo composition tips
How to Pose a Puppy

These photo composition tips are good for posed studio photography and also apply to more natural settings with busier backgrounds.  Most pictures of such an adorable puppy come out pretty good even with bad technique.

But if you fine tune your composition techniques and use the right photography lighting equipment your photos are even better.  I chose black as my first background choice in the photo below.

I knew I was going to be photographing the Beaglier and her colors were going to be brown, black and white and I wanted my background to be neutral and compliment my subject.  The telephoto setting is  typically a good setting to get a pleasing perspective for portrait photography of people as well as pets.

It is also good to experiment with more dramatic perspective changes.  In the photo below, my camera lens was zoomed to to widest-angle setting.  I was only a few inches away from my subject so the composition is dramatically different.

Her head appears disproportionately large in size compared to her body  is certainly a more comical look. I almost never do this with portrait photography of people but it is a fun technique to use with a puppy and emphasizes her cute nose and droopy ears.

Her head is so close to the camera compared to the distance from her body to the camera that it dominates the photo's composition.

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Another tip that I've touched on, in more detail, in other articles involves using a framing device. Here in the photo below, the blanket frames the puppy's face and also eliminates the horizon between the posing table and the background.

She lowered her chin and tilted her head for just a second and I was able to get this absolutely adorable pose.

The composition below I used a chair as a support prop.  It had a light colored upholstery to start and I toned in down even more in Photoshop.

This is one of my favorite compositions because of the position of her paws and the expression on her face.

One of the photo composition tips you'll hear frequently is to plan your colors. The pose below involves the introduction of a contrasting color which has to be done with caution.  

This is just my particular opinion and it is definitively a subjective topic and  personal preferences and opinions will vary.

I think the inclusion of the red ball adds a story to the photograph.  It is a simple geometric shape and it is a single color so it does not become distracting.  It makes sense for a puppy to be playing with such a prop and her playful expression and jaw position are just right.

The photo below (in my opinion) is not as strong.  There is a story behind it though.  This puppy was born in a farming community and her owner wanted her photographed with the tractor.

It is still a cute idea with a cute puppy.  If this were submitted in a photography competition, the judges would say the tractor is a distraction and it is not positioned properly in the composition.

More importantly to my client, the prop has a special meaning to the owner of the dog and is a photograph they will enjoy for years.

I hope you enjoyed these photo composition tips.  Here are some related topics:

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