Outdoor Dog Photography

How to Photograph Black Dogs


One of the organizations I am happy to support is Guiding Eyes for the Blind. I am so proud of these pups and what this organization accomplishes. It warms my heart to see the trainees and graduates each year. These pups give the blinds self-confidence to go out to the world and live their lives independently by being their eyes.

As an ongoing supporter of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, I receive a monthly calendar each year from the organization. Last month, I flipped the calendar to June and saw this featured photo, which inspired me to write this post.

Photo Credit: Guiding Eyes for the Blinds

I am a photographer specializing in natural dog photography, and unfortunately, I see this happening too often.

No one looks good in harsh mid-day lighting, but it’s especially true for dogs with dark fur. I am sure the two black labs – Irish and Werner – are as cute as their yellow lab friends in person, but we can’t see this in this photo because their facial details and shiny fur are lost in the shadow. What a shame.

With black dogs, there is very little contrast, which makes it challenging to take great photos consistently. And, this is a reason why black dogs (and cats) are the least adopted dogs in shelters.

So, what should you do if your dog has dark fur?

Here are some things you can do to avoid common mistakes. Avoid the middle of the day and make sure your black or brown dog isn’t in the shadow, and there is plenty of natural light to lighten up the details of your dog’s face.

There is an exception, though. If you have to take photos outdoors in the middle of a day, find a large shaded area like under a tree. It will work if there is plenty of natural light around your dog, and the background isn’t too brightly lit.

Book an Outdoor Dog session with Outdoor Dog Photography today!

Better yet, shoot on early morning or late in the afternoon near sunset. The lighting is soft, and it’s flattering for all dogs (and people too).

Another good option is to shoot on overcast days to allow your dog to be more evenly lit.

Outdoor Dog Photography

I hope this helps you to take great photos of your beautiful dark-furred baby! Good luck!

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Happy Hiking!

9 comments on “How to Photograph Black Dogs”

  1. I’ve had three dogs thus far, in my lifetime -and all were black labs… and all in my pre-bloging days! All were very photogenic! And all loved camping and hiking, from the SHT (Superior Hiking Trail), to the wilds of the Canadian Rockies, the grassy plains of the Dakotas and numerous state parks in MN. Lets hear it for the black labs!

  2. I can totally relate. We have a black lab / boxer mix that sometimes just turns out black in a photo, like cannot see his face at all. Thankfully he has some gray now, which lights up his face some now, lol. Great suggestions!

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