Ever wanted to capture your puppy in the pawfect photo but frustrated by the lighting conditions or when your puppy decides it’s suddenly camera shy!? We can relate! Here at Banksia Park Puppies, we take many puppy photos per week for our website and customers, and we usually need to work with whatever Mother Nature decides on any given day and the personality of each puppy. We don’t have any professional gear or fancy setups, usually just a basic DSLR camera, the subject ie. the puppy and location ie. the park. We are sometimes asked by our Banksia Park Community for tips on how to take good photos of dark coloured puppies and puppies in general, so we thought we would help you out! We definitely aren’t professionals but our years of puppy photography experience will certainly get you started – all you need is your puppy/dog, any camera of choice, a location, and our Top 4 Tips!
Read on for our 4 Top Tips plus a BPP Top Tip & Insight to help take your puppy photography to the next level:
Tip 1. Lighting
This is one of the most important tips for capturing a great snap of your puppy as well as for photography in general! The best lighting conditions are: light shade, overcast and sunny.
This means on the edge of a shady area just before the full-sun area. Light shade areas can either be under a tall tree, shade cloth/sail, verandah or near a building. When your puppy moves deeper into the shaded area you can risk losing its features due to low lighting and black puppies can ‘disappear’ in the dark background. Unfortunately, mosquitoes love the shade as well especially on a warm sunny day so be prepared with some insect repellant. Mozzies usually aren’t a problem for puppies with thick coats but keep an eye out for any that try to get into your puppies delicate areas.
Is when the sun is covered by clouds or sometimes smoke/pollution. This is one of the best weather conditions for capturing details in puppies! Overcast conditions produce soft lighting instead of the contrasting strong lighting and dark shadows on a full-sun day! Sometimes overcast days means rain which is not always great for your camera! It is fine for your puppy/dog to experience being rained-on and most of the time they will enjoy it – just be mindful that your puppy is fully dried-off on a cold/rainy day!
A Sunny day always make a photo look warm, bright and cheery! The light is great for not only showing up most puppy features but also capturing the glistening highlights in their fur, eyes, and whiskers! Try to avoid a full-sun aspect especially on hot Summer’s days which can cause your puppy to over-heat and become dehydrated.
These cute Cavoodle siblings have been positioned under a single large tree. As you can see in this photo the puppies are in an open-shaded position just on the edge of where the shade meets the light. This means that it isn’t too shaded/dark but also not too bright/glary from full-sun! This light-shade position means that details are captured in the puppies fur, eyes etc. without harsh dark shadows. This photoshoot was in March (at the start of Autumn) which is still fairly sunny and warm. Because of the warm/sunny weather, it was taken in the evening between 3 and 4pm which means that the sun and light were softer than in the middle of the day and of course cooler in temperature!
Tip 2. Time of Day
Sometimes the time of day cannot be controlled especially when your pooch has pulled a super cute pose and you need to capture it asap! Whether you have been selective about the time of day or not we will help you out with the what works best during that time!
This is a magical time of day when the sun slowly emerges from the horizon and produces a warm and gentle light source! Some mornings may even have the added bonus of mist which can make for an interesting/mysterious photo and your puppy will look magical!
Photos in an open area are pawfect for this time of day! The light is still soft during the morning which will capture nice details of your puppy and you won’t need to use a shaded area.
The middle of the day is generally too sunny and bright (unless overcast) but is a great time to use light/open shade! If you need to take photos this time of day (especially during hot Summer days) pose your puppy under trees, a verandah or shade sail. It is also a good time of day if you like photography or black and white photography with high contrast ie. strong lights/whites with strong darks/shadows.
This time of day is overall a good time for puppy photos! During Summer it can sometimes still be quite hot with strong light but is a great time of day to capture the glistening highlights in your puppy’s fur, eyes and whiskers.
Evenings are another amazing time of day for puppy photography enthusiasts. A sky and horizon filled with warm colours and soft warm light make puppy photos look semi-pro! This is a great time of day to capture the detail of your puppy as well as have a beautiful backdrop!
Nighttime can, unfortunately, be too dark for puppy photography and result in a blurry dark photo. However this can be avoided by using the flash option on your camera/phone, a slow shutter speed to capture the most amount of light or the best and easiest option is taking your puppy inside and using home lighting as your light source and furnishings as your backdrop!
Puppy photography can be practiced all year round but our personal favorite seasons are Autumn and Spring! The lighting during these times is favorable as it is generally softer than Summer and lighter/brighter than Winter. Autumn has the added bonus of a backdrop of Autumnal colours/leaves and Spring has beautiful flowers and fresh green grass!
This photo of a gorgeous Cavador puppy was taken in the morning between 9-10am, early April. It was a beautiful time of day as the sun was peeping through the trees in the park. In that particular spot, it was still a bit too shady so the puppy was located where soft light was streaming through the trees. The surrounding area was shaded so the puppy became the feature and her light coloured fur and pink harness really stood-out against the darker background.
Tip 3. Position
Your puppy’s pose and position can take your photography from paw to pawsome! It’s all very well to pick the best time of day and lighting but then forget to your pose your pooch in a flattering position or realise that your black Cavoodle magically disappeared into a dark coloured background. To avoid fluffy-butt pics or puppy-chameleons here are some tips to help you out!
A good way to position your pooch is to face it towards the light source. This will enable your puppy’s beautiful facial features to be highlighted and visible in the photo. Facing your puppy forward like a portrait is the most well known and flattering position! When you and your puppy get confident you can try different poses such as side pose, action shot, sleeping pose (easy-peasy) etc.
Backgrounds are often overlooked and understated but can make a big difference to the overall vibe. They can make a puppy either stand out and become the feature subject or recede and blend in with the surroundings. Here at Banksia Park Puppies, we like to use green grass, trees, and our park environment as our background/backdrop and theme. Not only are these a part of our puppies upbringing and our business brand but this backdrop enables all coat colours and puppy breeds to stand out and be the star!
We mainly take puppy photos outside using natural light and the natural environment but there are times and weather conditions where this is undesirable and uncomfortable for our puppies so indoor photography is required! Our indoor set up is basic but gets the job done so we are unable to recommend a professional set up but here are some basic tips for indoor puppy photography…
Try to use as much natural light as possible by posing your puppy near windows or a see-through door. If the area is windowless or if it is nighttime turn on the lights or get creative and use a lamp as the light source and play-around with puppy poses, props and backdrops!
BPP TOP TIP:
Some photographers say don’t work with children or animals for the very reason that they are unpredictable! But don’t worry, you’ll enjoy puppy photography, even more, when you switch your camera setting to ‘Action/Sports’ or adjust your camera’s manual settings to a faster shutter speed! Why’s this? Well, the quicker your camera takes a photo frame the more likely you will be able to capture your puppy playing, running, bounding and just being a puppy! When puppies are awake they are always on the move and using a general camera setting or slower shutter speed will result in missing the pawfect puppy moment and instead the photo will look like a blurry blob against a backdrop! On a camera phone go into the camera’s Settings, then Camera Modes, then Edit Modes and select (or drag and drop) Sports or Action mode (phone settings may differ per device brand and model).
The ‘Sports’ mode with the fast shutter speed helped to capture these cute Cavoodles in action! This photo was taken in the middle of the day and in a full-sun aspect but as it was at the end of Autumn the sun/light wasn’t too strong. The puppies are also facing the light, so no harsh visible shadows across the puppies’ bodies.
Tip 4. Persuasion
You maybe be thinking woah hold on a sec – these tips are all very well but how do you encourage your puppy to pose and obey your instructions in the first place!? Don’t be disheartened, here are some handy ideas to help your puppy comply.
Squeaky dog toys are the best tool when enticing or distracting your puppy for a photo. The noise can even cause your puppy to head-tilt or perk its ears which makes for the cutest pic!
Most puppy/dog owners love to spoil their pooch with treats and this is a great way to entice (errr bribe) them to pose for a photo! Some puppies and dogs can even perform cool tricks with the use of treats which makes for a great action shot!
What paw-pal doesn’t love peanut butter!? Best of all it can be smeared onto or under most objects which can not only keep your puppy occupied but entice them to pose in the pawfect position! Just remember to use the low-sugar/salt variety and use only as a treat as overconsumption of this high-fat condiment can lead to weight gain in most dog breeds.
Is your puppy a stage-9 clinger and you don’t fancy taking photos of your feet!? All good, a fun distraction is key and that usually involves a play-mate. If you have a relative or friend with a paw-pal bring them along for a dual photo shoot! Distraction, playtime and lasting memories all in one, minus the feet pics!
Puppy training is beneficially for your puppy regardless if it’s intended for those pawfect puppy snaps or not! We recommend Ian The Dog Trainer, but there is also puppy training information on the internet and YouTube!
You’re channeling a celebrity puppyrazzi, but you realise that your paw-pal is on red-cordial! This is an ideal time to burn up your puppy’s extra energy and take them for an exercise and play session! Even a walk around the park can calm your puppy enough to sit still and pose!
Finding it challenging juggling a puppy and a camera!? That’s where an assistant can come in handy! It’s best your puppy/dog knows the assistant so they are comfortable when being handled and will listen to their commands. Your assistant can be useful to hold your puppy and then quickly move out of the frame, yet still be close enough to keep your puppy out of potential danger. They can also interact and play with your puppy and be a part of the photoshoot.
Here at Banksia Park Puppies our puppies are usually too young for rigid puppy training and to understand what a doggy treat is and we prefer our adult dogs to eat healthy well-balanced meals and not be treat-obsessed so doggy treats are only limited to special occasions and for dental health! So you may be wondering what puppy photography persuasion tricks do we use? We actually use sound! Either whistling, calling out “pup-pup”, “puppy” or dog’s name or using a squeaky dog toy to get their attention. We mainly work solo when taking our puppy photos and rarely have the luxury of an assistant to hold or distract puppies while we take pictures, so using sound is simple and it works! For our photoshoots, we like to capture our puppies acting naturally so we place them down in a section of the park and let them do their thing, which is always entertaining and makes for a spontaneous snap! If we want them to look at the camera we will call out or whistle to get their attention – pretty basic but gets the job done! For our 6 week photos, our puppies are still at that age where they are calm enough to sit still and be puppyrazzied! For the active and older puppies, they are photographed in the Puppy Playground area or in a section of the park where they can run and play but still have their photos taken!
You might be familiar with this style of photo for our 6-week puppy photos on our website and Priority List! The puppies are posed on a garden bed with faux grass underneath for comfort and so the puppies ‘pop’ against the background! The garden bed is chest height so it saves the photographer from bending down too much. The puppies at this age are pretty compliant and move around just enough to get photos from all angles! We do get the odd active pup who wants to run-off so we use a squeaky toy to distract them from the novelty of the garden bed!
Black and dark coloured puppies are commonly misunderstood when it comes to puppy photography! The key is to get so good lighting to make their coat and features stand out and show up their beautiful highlights! It’s best to position your dark coloured puppy facing towards the light source and try to avoid overcast/gloomy days or very sunny days where dark shadows can form. Inside photography is fine too as long as there is plenty of ligh coming from windows, lamps or house lighting.
This photo was taken under a verandah which created open/light shade. This means that there was still plenty of light to show up details in the puppy and surrounds and a little glisten in the eyes.
The light on a Summers evening is soft and warm which has highlighted Trinity’s face. This is a nice way to focus on a particular subject or feature or create beautiful highlights in the fur and eyes!
What’s even better than one puppy!? Four! If you are lucky enough to know friends and family with paw-pals then why not ask them around for play-group and a photo shoot at the same time!
For a different approach why not try backlit photos!? It creates a beautiful soft halo around the subject/puppy! The key is to make sure there is enough light to gently highlight the rest of the body otherwise that may look too dark especially with a black Schnoodle/puppy!
Action shots are fun to take! When we photograph our parent dogs we like to occupy them with their favourite toys or let them do their thing – run, sniff, play! Here, Gemini and her sausage toy were captured with a fast shutter speed.
This photo of a Schnoodle was taken on a Spring afternoon! The lighting was perfect as it was bright enough to show the gorgeous highlights in the fur and eyes.
How do you get your puppy or dog to pose and produce pawsome photographs!? Share with us your tips below…
Do chew marks on furniture or destroyed slippers sound familiar? What could be considered as naughty puppy behaviour may actually be less sinister than originally thought and in fact a part of the puppy teething stage! Puppy teething sounds much like toddler teething in humans and actually, it is quite similar. It is a tender time for your puppy as it is losing its ‘baby’ puppy teeth and growing ‘adult’ dog teeth all within the short time frame of 3-4 months. During this period your puppy’s primary aim is to ease the pain, so not only will there be excess chewing but also bleeding gums, whining, apathy and potential aggressive moments! We have some great tips about easing your puppy through this milestone as well as some great oral health information!
What to do?:
This stage in a puppy’s life can sometimes be challenging for puppy and owner. On-off pain due to losing and growing teeth can cause what looks like puppy mood swings and behavioural issues. You may feel helpless, concerned or have run out of options. Don’t worry, we have some helpful tips to soothe puppy’s pain, save your furniture and keep everyone happy:
Use tough but safe puppy chew toys to help relieve your puppy’s mouth pain and stress and hopefully save your belongings. If your puppy decides that socks etc. are more interesting, reinforce the use of their own toys and make it into a fun game so they associate the toy with fun. There are also many puppy toys on the market that can be filled with treats or a smidge of peanut butter, which is another fun way to keep puppy distracted and entertained.
Freezing puppy safe foods and even toys is a cooling chew treat. Foods to freeze can include sliced apples, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon (rind-and seedless), carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato, as well as ice blocks. These cool treats help to reduce sore and inflamed gums.
Playtime and obedience training not only is great for your puppy’s development but also a good distraction. When your puppy is active and mentally stimulated it has less time to remember its teething pain and also less likely to return to negative chewing habits.
From a young age, get your puppy used to you touching in and around its mouth. This will help a lot in the future especially with brushing, oral examinations and vet visits.
Puppy and dogs can’t clean their own teeth, and chew toys and bones can only do so much. That’s why it is a good idea to brush your dog’s teeth regularly and to start when they are young. Brushing helps to reduce plaque build-up and keep breath fresh. This will reduce the need for regular vet visits and potential mouth diseases.
Begin with just a finger brush and then when you are both confident move to a soft toothbrush with puppy toothpaste (human toothpaste can cause an upset tummy).
Valda making a routine mouth and teeth inspection!
Brushing the plaque off Whooshy’s teeth!
6 week old puppy getting used to having its mouth touched!
This cute Cavador pup has found something fun to chew!
If you’re worried about your puppy and see that it is in a lot of pain or not acting its usual self, talk to a Veterinarian. They may prescribe puppy pain medication or provide other helpful advice!
Also if your puppy’s behaviour requires extra attention it could be a good idea to get help from a dog behavioralist such as Ian the Dog Trainer. Even puppies going through their teething stage need set boundaries and discipline to prevent negative behaviour turning into long-term habits.
Is your puppy going through Puppy Teething or are you passed those days? What cool tips and tricks did you use to keep your puppy happy and healthy? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
Your Personalised Banksia Park Puppies Record Book
At Banksia Park Puppies, we know that your puppy becomes part of your family when it leaves our family here. For this reason, we have started something fantastic for all our new Banksia Park Puppy families.
Now when you pick up your puppy you will also receive a detailed,personalised, Puppy Record Book. It has details and photos on mum, dad, puppy and siblings, as well as photos and information about where your puppy grew up and mum and dad live.
We hope that this Record Book will be treasured and give you lovely memories of your dog as a young puppy. Below is some example pages of our books!
Note: the images are a sample, and the information is not real.
Banksia Park Puppies Record Book
Your puppy information page
A photof of your puppy and it’s siblings at 2 weeks
Photos of your puppy at 6 weeks
You will have information on the mum and dad of your puppy, and links to more photos.
Banksia Park Puppies – Where did your puppy come from?
Interested in where your puppy came from? If you want to know more about Banksia Park Puppies, this 10 minute documentary will tell you all there is to know. It shows the live in yards, the heated nurseries, the Veterinary care, choosing through Pines Puppies, and then all the way through to our re-homing.
At Banksia Park Puppies, we get a lot of questions about a puppy’s colouring, relating to the colour of it’s parents. These are questions like ‘why is my puppy’s coat gold when both of it’s parents are black?’ or ‘my puppy is golden but it’s parents are red, how can this be the case?’.
I would have to go into significant scientific gene detail to completely answer these questions! But I also would like to address the question, and give you enough detail so that you can understand why a puppy’s coat is random rather than a certainty based on it’s parents.
Every puppy has DNA. This DNA is made up of a whole lot of different ‘points’. Each of these has two parts that make this up, and these can be ‘dominant’ and/or ‘recessive’. When mum and dad breed, each parent passes on one of their DNA to make up the DNA of the puppy. The gene passed on is picked at random. Each of the puppies (even within the same litter) will therefore be made up of a random set of DNA from mum, and a random set of DNA from dad (the figures below will help you understand this!).
Black or Liver
We’ll talk first about how a dog can be black or liver (for the sake of making this the basics, we’ll show liver as brown). This depends on the ‘B’ part of the DNA.
‘B’ is dominant over ‘b’.
So depending on the genetic makeup, if black mum and black dad both have a recessive ‘b’ gene (i.e. they are Bb), the puppies actually have a possibility of being liver (or another colour other than black) as they could get the ‘b’ gene from mum and dad, making then ‘bb’.
Two black parents without either being a liver carrier
A black mum (liver carrier) and a Black dad (liver carrier)
A Liver mum and a Black dad (liver carrier)
Larna is one of our black Labradors, and she has both black and gold puppies, so she must be ‘Bb’ (and dad must either be ‘bb’ or ‘Bb’
Recessive red adds an additional complexity, to make this simpler, we will only use the two recessive red genes ‘E’ and ‘e’.
E – this basically means that whatever their colour as determined by other genes (e.g. B) will occur.
e – The dog cant produce the black colour, it will produce a red/tan colour instead.
Combining the Black and Recessive Red Genes
So putting B and E together, a puppy with the following make up will have the below colour.
BBEE – black BBEe – black (red/tan carrier) BBee – red/tan with a black nose BbEE – black (liver carrier) BbEe – black (liver and red/tan carrier) Bbee – red/tan with a black nose (liver carrier) bbEE – liver bbEe – liver (red/tan carrier) bbee – red/tan with a brown (liver) nose
Here is one of the more complex examples of ‘B’ and ‘E’ together, and it shows the possibility of the colours of their puppies, and the different resulting genes.
Duplicating genes haven’t been shown in the first example, so this doesn’t show the ‘chance’.
Figure below shows the ‘chance’ of a puppy being a certain colour with duplicating genes shown.
Gene make up showing the ‘chance’ of a certain colour in a litter of puppies
NOTE: Just a note that this blog article doesn’t take into account many the other genes i.e. whether white patching will occur or the intensity of the colouring to create red/tan/yellow. It is put together as a simple description to show customers that puppy may not always be the same colour as mum and/or dad.
Has anyone else noticed the rise in dog related activities and products? Having a dog in today’s society doesn’t just mean that we have one in our backyard; having a dog now means that we take them to our favourite cafes for a cup of coffee and the good cafes even have menus for our paw friends.
We take them on our walks around town to do shopping, and even on winery tours (see Gourmet Paw Prints who specialise in exactly this)! They live inside, in apartments with courtyards, and now have car seats in between our children in the back seat.
The dogs in our life now have specially designed clothes (like the cute puppy in the photo!), dog bowls and toys individualised for them, doggie day care if their carers are at work during the day, and dog ‘resorts’ for when their carers go on holidays.
This all just shows how much our dogs now mean to us. They really become part of our lives. This is the predominant reason that we at Banksia Park Puppies and Pines Pets breed the dogs that we do. The dogs we breed are low allergenic, low shedding, are softly tempered, and still love exercise and absolutely adore their owners.
At Banksia Park Puppies we specialise in cross breeding; we do this so that the puppies who join your family will fit perfectly into your family life. For example, our Cavoodles are King Charles Cavalier (usually the mum), and a Miniature or Toy Poodle (usually the dad). This breed of dog fits perfectly into family life. They have extremely low shedding coats which is great for inside the house, or for children with allergies (thanks to the Poodle) and are beautifully tempered for inside the home and with children (thanks to the King Charles Cavalier). They will walk on a lead, sit at your cafe for a coffee or a paw-treat from the doggy menu, and play with your children outside chasing balls or toys.
Our Banksia Park Puppies are beautifully tempered, well socialised, and we have a group of full time staff looking after them at our property to make sure that when your puppy joins your family, he or she fits perfectly into your life.
Our website explains further the breeds that we specialise in or contact Pines Pets for help on choosing the right breed for your lifestyle.
Note: There is no affiliation or endorsement from Gourmet Paw Prints.