Expert Tips on How to Photograph Your (and My) Black Dog

how to photograph black dog

One of my biggest frustrations as a dog mom is not being able to properly capture the true beauty of my standard black poodle, Kiki. Walking her around New York City is never dull. People often stop me to take her picture and ask me who does her hair. One guy even told me she looked like his ex mother-in-law! Unfortunately, most of my best efforts trying to capture her good looks have ended in failure. When trying to find a solution for getting a better picture, I realized that I wasn't the only one with this struggle. Black dogs are significantly more difficult to photograph!

how to photograph black dog, Kiki photographed by Marianne Barnett

Kiki photographed by Marianne Barnett

It’s a true and sad fact that a black dog will sit in a shelter much longer than any other color variety of dog. One of the reasons? Black dogs are notoriously difficult to photograph or see in photos.

Here are some helpful and easy tips we have gathered on capturing black dogs with a professional camera or a smartphone from pet photographers and pet influencers:

black dog with contrasting background

1. ADD POPS OF COLOR

You can use nature, a bright wall, furniture or a colorful leash, collar or outfit to accomplish this.  

“Since the dog is already so dark, incorporate bright colors or accessories into the shot for some contrast!” - Megan Rose Macari @nycdogmom @pharrellandrosie

professional dog photo

2. USE YOUR SMARTPHONE SETTINGS

You have some of the finest photography tools right in your pocket!

“On the iPhone camera, you can click on the screen and play around with the exposure settings. A nice, overcast day helps too for an overall even exposure.” Beth @goodboygrayson

black dog with flowers

3. FIND THEIR BEST FEATURE

Does your dog have a beard that makes the hipsters swoon? A unique spot perhaps?

“Find what makes them stand out. For my little black dog, I always make sure that the focus of his photos are his bright, expressive eyes. For others, it may be a bold side profile, a cool trick, a long floppy tongue, or their bond with their humans. Take a moment to find that trait to focus on in each photo. Where details may lack in shadows, let personality make them stand out and shine.” - Allie Muro @talltailscreative

black dog on contrasting background

4. LIGHTING, LIGHTING, LIGHTING!

A dark dog needs some extra help!

“Lighting is the most important thing when it comes to photography but especially true when photographing black dogs. If you don’t have access to external lights, take your dog outdoors or in front of a well lit window indoors and face them into the light; this will help fill all those shadows on their face and fur and give a sparkle to their eyes.” Michelle Russ @michelle_russ_photo

"I struggle with photographing my dog, Ivy, all the time. Soft light is your BEST friend. Try to avoid direct midday sun because the black of your dog & the white light of the sun battle one another. Opt for shady areas, overcast days or golden hour lighting instead!" - @izzythegiantschnauzer (Dog is Ivy)

“Try to utilize sunshine, especially during golden hour! Natural light really makes a difference. As does portrait mode.” - Marni Hagel @montydoodledoo

Now that you have the technical parts down, remember to bring lots of treats & toys to make your photo session a fun bonding experience for you and your pup(s)! If you try any of these photography tips, be sure to tag us on social media so we can see your work!

WHO IS PRIDE+GROOM?

PRIDE+GROOM was born because 4 New York City dog lovers wanted the same level of grooming products for their dogs that they themselves enjoyed. They looked (hard) but nothing was up to snuff. Or sniff. Like so many, we love our families and take pride in our homes, and we consider our pets to be integral parts of those entities. That said, we could not find an effective way to coif them that was on par with the way we tended to our children, our homes, or ourselves. These beloved pets are allowed on the furniture and in our beds, and yet even when fresh from the groomer, we knew they did not smell or feel as good as they could.

With the development of our coat-specific shampoos, conditioner and deodorizing spray, we think we found just the way to say thanks for being the best and the sweetest MVP of the house.

PRIDE+GROOM is the first dog grooming brand launched under a beauty platform, with formulas made in a clean beauty and scent lab. We know beauty is not only skin deep. We did a ton of research to create the entire line. Each product is formulated with its own unique blend of essential oils sourced from around the world.

IN DOG WE TRUST

Shop our entire line:  www.prideandgroom.com