Capture Unique Facial Features in Dog Photos - dummies

Capture Unique Facial Features in Dog Photos

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

Dogs’ appearances vary as much as humans’ — well, even more so, seeing as how dogs are the most diverse species on the planet. Sometimes to capture the true personality of a pooch, you need to focus on individual features.

Focus on the nose in dog photography

Noses are the cutest to photograph. You can photograph them straight-on to get that fishbowl, her-nose-is-ridiculously-large-and-cute look that everyone likes. If you want to see a few more details, like her whiskers and a little of her graying muzzle, try taking an angled approach.


32mm, 1/60 sec., f/2.8, 500

Eyes & eyebrows in dog photography

If a dog wears his heart on his tail, then he wears his soul in his eyes. Dog guardians know how many things their beloved furry pals communicate through the expressions in their eyes. Sometimes, all you have to do is look at your dog to know exactly how he’s feeling.


50mm, 1/400 sec., f/1.8, 125

When your dog’s eyes speak to you, it’s time to grab the camera, get close, and take a listen. You don’t necessarily have to go the soulful route; you have many possibilities:

  • Getting a shot of just his eyes above the dinner table, begging for scraps

  • Photographing the look he gets in his eyes when he has spotted something outside

  • Taking a profile shot of him looking deep into the eyes of someone he loves (someone other than you — sorry, photographer)

  • Capturing his eyes searching for something or waiting for someone to get home

Focus on the ears in dog photography

Why not create a photo that represents the softness of a dog’s ears visually? Bring out the individual characteristics of your buddy’s ear:

  • If she has tiny little hairs sprouting out of the top or from inside, try to position yourself so you get some backlight behind her and make those sprigs of hair really stand out.

  • If her ears do a weird half-floppy, half-upright thing, try photographing down at them to get them to “fly out.”

  • If her ears are really long hound ears, get your pal to lie down so her ears spill out across the floor or get her to rest her chin on a table so her ears dangle well beneath her chin.


60mm, 1/250 sec., f/2.8, 125

Mouth, teeth, & tongue in dog photography

Photographing your dog’s mouth area is another type of shot where you can really home in on what’s unique to your dog. Here are a few ideas for taking close-ups of his mouth:

  • Him eating his dinner or chewing on his favorite bone

  • His open mouth grabbing for a stick

  • His closed mouth while he’s asleep

  • The underbite or overbite that’s distinctly his

  • His tongue flapping in the breeze


70mm, 1/640 sec., f/2.8, 100