The Use of Leashes in Dog Photography - dummies

The Use of Leashes in Dog Photography

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

Ahhh, the inevitable leash debate. Some people don’t mind them in photos, but others hate them! Leashes are part of a dog’s everyday life, so they’re not all that intrusive in the first place. However, you need to keep certain things in mind if a leash does appear in your photo or if you plan on removing it with some postproduction wizardry.

  • If the leash will remain in your final photo, be sure to use a newer, nice-looking leash as opposed to that old frayed one you pull out on rainy days. Also, direct the leash holder to pull it up and away so it’s not lying on the dog’s body.

    The leash should cross over her body as unobtrusively as possibly. Here is an example of bad leash handling because it cuts through so much of Andiamo’s body.


    27mm, 1/400 sec., f/9.0, 250

  • If you plan on doing some fancy Photoshop work to remove the leash, make your life easier by using a thin, retractable cord leash — but be sure your assistant knows how to quickly lock off the leash should he need to put the brakes on. Removing a tiny black cord from your photo is always easier than removing those thick nylon leashes.

    Instruct your handler to hold the leash tight enough that it’s not lying on the dog, but loose enough that the dog’s collar doesn’t get too tugged upon. Otherwise, the collar will look pretty strange when you remove the leash in postprocessing.


    24mm, 1/640 sec., f/2.8, 200