Kate Farrell Photography

Family & Dog photographer
Burlington, stowe & Northern Vt




Four Vermont Dog Photography Tips

I’m sharing what I’ve learned working in Vermont Dog photography to help you with the tricky task of photographing your dog. They move quickly and don’t understand all of our directions. But, I’ve got a few tips and tricks to share.

I look back on photos of my first dog and wish I knew then what I know now about photography. I have hardly any photos of Mason in action — and he was a Labrador Retriever who was never so happy as when he was playing fetch. Luckily, I knew something about photography by the time he was in his golden years.

A very old chocolate lab rests in the summer grass after a swim.
13 year old Mason relaxing after his daily swim. My photography sure has progressed since July 2016!

Hopefully, this post will help you capture photos of your dog throughout their lifespan. Vermont dog photography is tons of fun and well worth the effort.

A woman kneeling the grass holds three Labrador puppies - one yellow, one black, one chocolate.  Vermont Dog photography
I adopted the chocolate on the right from Dole Hill Labradors!!! (Fall 2021)

Capture Connection Between Dogs and People

When I hold my camera I am always asking myself what’s the story here? What connections before me have meaning? What’s special about this season for these people? (Read more about my family sessions here.)

A Red Heeler gives his owner, an older gentleman, a huge kiss - Vermont Dog photography

Dogs claim huge chunks of real estate in our hearts. Anyone who has ever had to say good-bye to one knows that they can leave a bigger hole than you knew they filled.

A man training his large brown and white dog near a pond with fall foliage in the background - Vermont Dog photography

Each human to dog bond is unique and special. These connections change over time. Capture your family members with your dog doing training during puppyhood and snuggling before heading off to college.

A chocolate lab puppy looks up at a man with big puppy eyes - Vermont Dog photography
A black and white dog gives big kisses to her teenaged human girl -- Vermont Dog photography

When I photograph a dog with their family, I first notice the connections that dog has in their family. Then I focus in on those. Is it a senior who has grown up alongside his dog? A Dad who loves his evening dog time? Is it Mom of young kids whose dog is her BFF during years of sleep deprivation?

A woman gives her yellow lab a treat while her toddler walks by - Vermont Dog photography

Does the dog’s name have a story with deep meaning for the family? Have dogs been part of the family for decades?

I want my clients to feel that connection to their dog whenever they see the photo. I want them to feel those stories when they look back on their photos.

When photographing your dog, be sure to consider these questions and then ask a friend or family member (or dog photographer like me!) to capture some images of you with your furry friend to highlight these connections

The Profile Dog Photograph

Dogs are beautiful animals. I love to capture them in profile to highlight their shape, physique and coat. Gorgeous backlight is my favorite for these photos, especially for dogs with a longer or thicker coat.

Capture Dogs in Action!

I’m a Lab Girl through and through. (No, not just because I sometimes miss lab work with my physics and biology students! Hee-hee.) I love their athleticism and positive energy. (They do say humans aspire to be like their dogs!)

But, whatever the dog’s favorite activity, catching them in action is tons of fun. This is best done in bright light, thin cloud cover is perfect. A shutter speed greater than 1/800s, AF point expansion (a small range of points in the frame that you select) and AI Servo are helpful settings if you are comfortable making those adjustments. Otherwise, go with action mode.

And, don’t delay on getting these shots. Just like our two legged babies, dogs grow up too quickly. Get those spunky young dog photos while your dog is still spunky and young.

That’s me in 2019 with Silva who is no longer with us.

Close up

Just like with people, a good portrait is priceless. Focus on the eyes being sure to get some catch lights (little sparkles) in them. I recommend point focus for portraits. Having an assistant behind you can help to coax the dog into the most flattering light. A wide aperture (generally open to at least f/2.8) will give some nice creamy bokeh in the background.

Interested in a Photo Session?

I’d love to chat with you about photographing your dog with your family! Use the “Let’s Get Started” button to get in touch today.

I’m based in Williston, VT and photograph families in outdoor settings throughout Northern Vermont. Let’s talk soon!

  1. […] to select a location that allows dogs — that might even be your yard. (You might also enjoy my Dog Photography Tips […]

  2. […] the patterns the water makes so cool? For these, I use burst mode which I explained in my Dog Photo Tips and Favorite Camera Features for Family Photography […]

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Kate Farrell is a professional lifestyle family and dog photographer based in Williston, Vermont, serving Burlington, Stowe and Northern Vermont. 

All Families Welcome Here.