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Teresa Berg’s Five Tips For Better Dog Photography

CBS Sunday Morning recently introduced us to Teresa Berg, a Dallas-based photographer who turned a simple observation into something profound and meaningful. Eternally bothered by...

Tamara Palmer  |  Oct 18th 2011


CBS Sunday Morning recently introduced us to Teresa Berg, a Dallas-based photographer who turned a simple observation into something profound and meaningful.

Eternally bothered by the poor pictures that often accompany pleas to adopt rescue animals, Berg wondered whether better shots might improve an animal’s chance at finding a new home. So she worked with the same Dachshund rescue organization where she had adopted her own four-legged friends to give all the current tenants an image overhaul, taking them out of cages and outfitting them with flowers or pearls.

The result: Every dog got adopted. Our takeaway from this wonderful deed is that loving attention paid to seemingly small details can make a world of difference.

Berg offers webinars for people around the world who want to take better pictures of their dogs, whether for adoption or posterity purposes, yet she was kind enough to share some simple but crucial tips on capturing compelling photos with the Dogster community:

1. “Where’s the light? You want the light to fall on the dog’s face.”

2. “Declutter the background. I don’t know if you’ve ever amused yourself by going on Petfinder just to see how bad the pictures really are. There’s like dirty laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, empty boxes of pizza, old tennis shoes — and you can’t always find the dog in these pictures. It’s like Where’s Waldo?”

3. “Get down on the dog’s eye level. People bend over maybe six inches and expect the dog to look up into the camera, and the dog doesn’t always do that. You get a lot of pictures of the top of the dog’s head. You can always put the dog in a chair or on a table. I spend a lot of time lying on my stomach, photographing Dachshunds.”

4. “Good dog posture, with their ears up. When you go to Petfinder next time, see what the body language on some of these dogs is telling you, because some of them looked like they were kicked about two seconds before they snapped the picture. Their hindquarters are slinking low, their ears are back, and they look like they are either about to be kicked or they were just kicked. So I always make it a point to have a dog sitting up with their ears up. And I make funny noises to perk their ears up.”

5. “Make sure the dog is making eye contact with the camera. We have people calling us and saying, ‘The minute I saw that photograph, I knew that was my dog.’ And how else are they gonna do that — by looking at a spot on the dog’s back? When they talk about the eyes being the window of the soul, you really feel like you know somebody when you look into their eyes. It’s the first step in the bonding process.”

Credits: All photos are by Teresa Berg, used with permission.

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