The Eyes Are The Window To The Soul

Never was an expression more true than when looking deep into a dog's eyes. Just like people, dogs have beautiful eyes and no two are the same.

Houston dog photographer

For every photo session, I come prepared with a pre-designed shot list of images I want to make sure and capture. I create this list based on earlier conversations with my client, the dog's personality, and also on the particular location we are holding our session at. I also, however, come armed with a list of images I try to capture, no matter the situation. One of these staples is the Soul Searcher or Puppy Dog Eyes shot.

You know this look, it's the same one your dog gives you when wanting a treat. Showing you those big, soulful eyes and using their Jedi mind tricks to weaken your willpower and grip on the treat bag.

Houston dog photographer

How To Get This Shot

Ready to give it a try? Here's what you do:

  1. Asking the dog to sit first helps to keep them in position and still.
  2. Get their attention with a treat or their favorite toy while looking down at them (and they look up at you) then promptly reward them. Do this a few times in a row.
  3. Next introduce your camera. Use their preferred treat/toy to get their attention and move the object towards your camera lens. If they keep their focus as you move the treat to your camera, promptly reward them.
  4. Once they reliably keep their gaze on the item while moving it toward your lens, start pressing your shutter!

Pro Tip:

Put your focal point directly on the dog's eye (the one closest to you). Use a shallow depth of field and keep your shutter at least 1/320-1/500 of a second to account for any slight dog movements. Also, keep an eye on the ground around the dog, make sure it's attractive and doesn't have any large distractions.

NOTE: This pose isn't for every dog. Some dogs get nervous when someone stands over them or prefers to have their personal space - and that's ok! I imagine my camera lens looks like one giant eyeball looking down at them and even treats aren't enough motivation to look up. It's totally fine though - if your dog is uncomfortable at all, we'll move on. I have a long list of shots that I like to capture during a session!

Follow the Circle

Want to see more examples of the Puppy Dog Eyes shot? Of course, you do! To see them, just click on the link below, then continue along the blog circle till you end up back here.

Next up: Canberra dog photographer Ina of Ina J Photography talks about why the look down is one of the shots that’s on her shot list.