According to the ASPCA, about 47% of U.S. households own a dog, and I don’t think it would be barking up the wrong tree to say that all 100% of those pet parents would love to see little Diogee become the next Tuna, Manny, or Otter—or just have her pile up the likes on Instagram. But how? Having an actual celeb (like Anne Hathaway) in the mix would be super-helpful. But since those chances are low (for me at least, as my shots usually feature the dog sans A-lister and giving me the whale eye.), we've got another neat trick up our sleeve.
Suzanne Donaldson, founder of the uber-glamorous dog-rescue-awareness-meets-canine-couture site, Mrs. Sizzle, reveals the simple solution: Just bark. Yes, that’s right, if the somewhat obvious offering up of their favorite treat or “squeaking your brains out” with their best toy doesn’t work, she says, bring it down to their level. “Bark at your beast. It gets them to pay attention. My labradoodle, Gus, will look at me like ‘hashtag headtilt.’ It’s hysterical!”
Donaldson, former Glamour photo director, shares five more top tips for posing your pet, gleaned from her cadre of professional dog photogs.
Make sure the sun is behind you.
This Photography 101 tenet puts your four-legged subject in natural and even lighting. Remember this mantra: “Favorite treat in one hand, squeaky toy in the other, sun behind you.” Repeat.
Now literally, get down on their level.
“Most people don’t think about this, but you want to get on your knees to frame the shot. That makes such a better picture.”
Put a hat on it. Sometimes.
“Toss in a cute outfit, costumes, bunny ears. That always works. However, if you want a truly strong voice on your dog’s social feed, have a clean background and just really focus on the dog. That gives the image that nice high-end feel.” Yes, we just got the green light for costumes!
Go to the dogs (get closer).
“An editor from the Ruffington Post recently told me that close-ups do really well. Look at all the big Instagram accounts like Marnie the Dog and Toast Meets World and Doug the Pug. Huge, amazing close-ups of their faces are big winners.
Be a model. Or not look like one.
“If your dog won’t sit still no matter what, take pictures of a tree. Honestly! To be a successful account—and I know this sounds silly—and change careers to be your dog’s manager, the dog better be a good model. My new favorite, Ella Bean, loves posing. They have to, or it’s not gonna happen.”
Agency contracts aside, isn’t spending time with her the best reason for creating posts of your pup anyway? “The biggest thing is to have fun with it. Don’t get frustrated,” Donaldson says.
Make Your Dog an Insta-Celeb is the second in a two-part series. Previously: How to Fix “Pet Eye” in Photos in 3 Super Easy Steps