One of my favorite photography subjects is my faithful companion, Bailey the black lab. Not only is he a good sport when I pull out my camera (though I think he secretly likes the extra attention), but with a subject I feel so close to, it’s easy to snap pics of him. More on Bailey later, but for now, here are 20 stunning portraits of man’s — and woman’s — best friend.
|1| This Flickr photo by mommamia is a great action shot! It captures the essence of the pup - playful, curious, eager - and freezes a split second that otherwise would have been missed.
|2| A shallow depth of field is key for portraits. Blurring the background (and possibly the foreground) minimizes distractions and puts the focus on your subject. This photo from Photography Reflection takes that to the extreme by blurring pretty much everything but the dog's eyes. Given how expressive they are, the technique works really well. Love this!
|3| Details: The title of this series says it all. First the photographer focuses on the most obvious part of this beloved dog - the eyes - but, again, blurs out everything but the dog's face. Then in the two smaller pictures, she captures two other "details" that make a dog a dog: his wagging tail and the spot behind his ears he loves to have scratched.
|4| To sum this image up in a single word: Amazing. It would be difficult enough to get a dog to sit still for a close-up like this, but the technique is outstanding. The high contrast creates drama, yet the image is very peaceful.
|5| Although with the exception of the grass in the immediate foreground, everything in this photo is in focus - not just the subject. But here, it works. The sky and wispy clouds are already soft enough that they don't compete with the dog for attention. The bright, bold colors combined with the calmness of the Great Dane, the asymmetry, and the simplicity of this image make it oh-so beautiful.
|6| Excellent use of contrast in this pair of portraits. On the left, an action shot that can't help but bring a smile to your face and evoke feelings of excitement and pure joy. On the right, a moment of serenity that instantly calms you and makes you feel at peace. Without the second, the first is somewhat cliche. Without the first, the second image looks almost lonely. But together, what a pair!
|7| Who says you need a beautiful beach or a grassy meadow for the perfect pet portrait? Nowhere else is your dog more at home than atop your (read: his) bed. The soft colors and slightly off-center framing (should there be a thought bubble to the right?) evoke a similar thoughtfulness from the viewer. After the initial chuckle at his bunny-like ears, you realize he's thinking about something... but what?
|8| This portrait reminds me of my own pup. Great use of shallow depth of field brings the focus in to the dog's happy smile. He's perfectly at ease in the cool grass. You can't help but smile and sigh contentedly when you see this beautiful black-and-white photo!
|9| You can't help but smile at this portrait. Not only is the "pose" hilarious, but it's got great movement, excitement, contrast, and is just all around visually interesting. I'd be willing to bet the client didn't expect their dog's portrait to turn out quite like this, but the surprise is a good one.
|10| Dogs just wanna have fun... And in this pair of photos, that's what this pup is doing. The photographer captures the very essence of this, or any, puppy: Big feet, ears and a tongue she still needs to grow into; complete adoration for her new parent; and pure puppy joy.
|11| What stands out most to me in this photo is the contrast of bright colors (the yellow wall, the pink tongue) with the black-and-white of the dog. The photographer captured this at just the right moment, which makes the picture more than just a dog standing in front of a yellow background. (In fact, he almost looks surprised that he was caught on film.)
|12| The very definition of "puppy dog eyes"! This photographer captures the expression that makes all dog owners melt... or give in and hand over a new rawhide bone!
|13| Though I'm a fan of bright colors and contrast, this monochromatic portrait has a very calm and soothing quality, which, undoubtedly, is just what this dog gives her owner.
|14| For most pet owners, their dogs are like children. This dog is bathed in soft, early morning light, giving her an angelic, ethereal aura - just the way her loving parent sees her.
|15| If you have a dog, you love to come home to your pup. That's the thing about dogs: They are always happy to see you. This pooch looks like he's patiently awaiting the return of his own doggie momma.
|16| Those of us who have or have been around Weimaraners know that they are very energetic dogs. This photo captures their playful personalities. Ah, the simple pleasures in life.
|17| I am always looking for new perspectives, and this is definitely qualifies. The view is very different (in that it's not how you would normally photograph a dog, unless you were a bird) and yet very familiar. Is this not just what you'd see if you looked down at this hound while on a leisurely walk? I also love the textures in this photo... They're so vivid you can almost feel it!
|18| I love that it's just the dog's face you see, peeking out of this grassy jungle, where he loves to play and chase his tennis ball. Where else is a dog more comfortable?
|19| This is just too cute for words. This little pooch recognizes his own kind - even if it is only a concrete rendition! The "pose" is so spontaneous, so unlike how you'd photograph a dog ordinarily, but it brings out the dog's sweet personality.
|20| This dog has a beautiful coat, and the stark white background doesn't compete, allowing the pattern and colors of his fur to stand out. Love the duo of a side view and a front view portrait together.
What do you think of these pet portraits? Do you enjoy taking portraits of your own pets? What dog photos have you come across that resonate for you? Share in the comments!
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