How to Take Dog Photographs in the Car - dummies

How to Take Dog Photographs in the Car

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

It’s a car ride, man, and next to eating and sleeping, it’s probably your dog’s favorite thing. Her eyes are closed in bliss, her ears are tucked back in the most aerodynamic of positions, her tongue and mouth are flapping in the breeze, her nose is taking in all the smells it could ever want, tunes are on the stereo, and the open road lies ahead.

So grab a couple of friends, your pooch, a mix tape, and some snacks, because as everyone knows, it’s not about the destination; it’s all about the journey.

Like a true road trip, there aren’t many compositional rules to follow when photographing Wally’s head out the window. The thing that makes it tricky is that you have to get a friend to drive and you have to essentially hang halfway out the front passenger window yourself to get this shot of pure joy.


24mm, 1/600 sec., f/3.5, 400

These safety rules are super-important. Nothing is more important than the safety of you and your beloved dog. Nothing. Here are some tidbits about how to keep everyone (and everything) safe and secure:

  • Lock the doors. Seems simple, but when you’re juggling a dog and a camera, you might forget.

  • Buckle up until it’s time for you to get the shot.

  • For extra safety, have a human spotter hang onto you, if possible.

  • Make sure your camera is around your neck. The last thing you want to do is watch as it gets smashed to smithereens on the asphalt below.

  • Choose a deserted or little-traveled road.

  • Stay at or below the speed limit. You don’t need to go very fast to get Wally’s ears to flap in the breeze.

  • Keep a leash on your pooch and make sure someone is holding it at all times (even if you swear Wally would never jump out of that wide open window).

  • Do this only during clear and dry conditions. Do not attempt this shot in wet, icy, or other inclement weather.

  • Trust your gut. If you or your driver feels uncomfortable at any point, stop immediately, even if that means you don’t attempt it at all. If you’re not keen on risking life and limb for a photo of Wally flapping in the breeze, consider stationary car shots as well, like him hanging out in the back of the pickup or him sitting shotgun with his sweet “doggles” on.