Capture the Details of Paws and Tails in Dog Photos - dummies

Capture the Details of Paws and Tails in Dog Photos

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

Each dog’s unique features tell a lot of him. For example, what you want to convey about your pooch’s paws determines how you compose this detail shot, and a dog’s tail is such a huge part of him, even if it’s just a nub or nothing at all.

To compose a shot that focuses on his paws

  • If he’s got huge clodhoppers, photograph them as they dangle off the edge of a bed or couch. Get below him but still in front of him so you can get some perspective on just how huge they are.

  • If he has dainty little pads, you may want to capture him midstride as he tiptoes down the street. Frame your photo to include a good chunk of the ground, his tiny paws, and his legs while cropping off the rest of his body.

  • If you don’t need to emphasize size or you just feel like being a little artsy, position him on a cool (or favorite) piece of furniture.


70mm, 1/125 sec., f/2.8, 320

Curly or stick-straight, furry or bald, a dog’s tail is a key part of his makeup. He sends it a-thumpin’ when he just can’t contain his joy and tucks it far under his legs to tell you he’s sorry. Maybe his tail points when he finds a squirrel or bends in a strange way because he broke it once.

When you take a photo of this most adorable of all back ends, choose an angle or crop that highlights his special tail. Try not to amputate the end and be sure to include a bit of his body to anchor the appendage and avoid a floating tail.

Here, the photographer shot straight-on but left enough negative space to accentuate the cuteness factor of Brecken’s question mark tail that fades into his matching backside.


40mm, 1/250 sec., f/3.2, 100