How to photograph puppies (1 day to 1 month) - Part 1

Puppies. Who doesn't love puppies? You want to capture every.single.moment. Even when they are doing *nothing*, they're still cute as hell.

So I decided to gather some insights that I think are very important when you think about photographing puppies.

Also, this is going to be divided in two parts: the first one for the set, the second part for the camera settings and posing.

Part 1 - The set

You don’t need a professional set or big lights to take good pictures. Just need a light source (like a big window) and, for new born photograph, a comfortable and fluffy place.

Take this example: It’s in our living room couch, next to a window. We wanted to be white and clean so we just covered with a white fluffly blanket.

So, what do you need to take note before you start photographing?

1. They are babies! These are newborn or some-weeks-old puppies. You have to be really patient and careful. They aren’t always going to be in “the mood” for being photographed. So, if you think that the photoshoot its not going very well, just try another time.

2. Warm and food.

Until they are about 15 days old, puppies can’t regulate their own temperature, so its really important that you have that in mind. If you try to take pictures of a puppy in a cold place they are going to start crying and move around (looking for their mother, a.k.a warmth). One trick we often use is putting a heat pad underneath the blanket – they will move a lot less, trust me. Besides sleeping, the other thing that’s in a puppy agenda is eating. If you take a puppy and put them in your set, he’s going to wake up. So, what do babies do when they wake up? Yup, they eat. So there’s no point on trying to take pictures of a newborn before letting him eat first. They will move around looking for milk.

Here’s a picture of our sweet Haley after she was fed and in a warm blanket:

Much easier to photograph right?

3. From day one, they can move around.

Again, puppies need to move around to find warm and food (a.k.a their mother). So they can (hardly) move around since day 1. So take that in mind in your set. Always have someone that their ONLY job is to keep an eye on the puppy, specially if the set is not on the ground. They can move around and fall in just a few seconds. NEVER, EVER leave a baby unattended.

4.Clean, clean, clean. This may be my veterinarian vein(?!) talking, but its really important that everything that the baby may contact to be clean. I know this may sound silly – im not saying you’re not a clean person – but puppies don’t have many defenses and some stuff you may think its ok, for a newborn is not. So anything that could have been in contact with other dogs (that you don’t know) – like shoes p.e – are completely no no’s!

Even your camera should be clean. This may look too much, but hygiene first!

So this are the basics you need to know before you start photographing new borns.


In the next post I'll talk about the camera settings and posing. So get your camera ready!