Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our April/May issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.
Do you squee at the sight of cute dog pics shared over social media, in a voice so high that only your four-legged friends can hear it? Do you interrupt dinner by shoving your phone into the faces of friends and family, demanding that they witness the huggable puppy who just appeared on your Instagram? Maybe you spend your days snapping pics of your own pups, desperately hoping that one day your dog will be beloved by random Internet strangers, too.
But what do you do when your “likes” are barely breaking the double digits? What do pet owners have to do to get their dog pics to #breaktheinternet? Here are 11 ways to get your social (media) circle clicking the like button and tapping that heart. (No dogs were hurt in the creation of this article. Never traumatize your dog trying to get an LOL photo.)
1. Outdoor action
No one believes that your blurry, poorly lit indoor pooch snap is an intentional action shot. The best action shots are taken in the best lighting nature has to offer — outdoors. As a bonus, taking photos outside means you don’t have to crop your dirty laundry or three-day-old dishes out of the shot.
2. Interspecies love
Ghostbusters’ Dr. Peter Venkman may believe that dogs and cats living together is a sign of the apocalypse,
but the Internet loves to see some interspecies cuddle pics. You can’t force it — that’s what makes these shots so darn hard to get, but it’s also what makes them so squeeworthy. If your dog and cat get their cuddle on every now and then, it’s worth waiting around to get the shot. Be warned: Using the flash may startle your dozing Milo and Otis, so it’s best to try to light this one naturally. This super-shareable shot comes with the added advantage of appealing to all the cat people in your social media sphere.
3. Extreme facial expressions
A dog with a wide range of facial expressions (or just adorably wide eyes) is a wealth of photo opportunities. Because these photos work best as close-ups, the background doesn’t matter much, but you will need good light. You’ll want to avoid using the flash unless you want to ruin your doggie’s smile by giving her demon eyes.
4. Add a baby
Pics of babies and dogs are a one-two punch of cuteness. This surefire combo creates maximum sharability, as most modern babies already have at least four super-fans (a.k.a. grandparents) on Facebook. If your dog doesn’t know any babies, don’t fret — just move on to No. 5.
5. The training triumph
This kind of photo can be captured about a year after those training classes. A photo of a good doggie practicing perfect obedience may strike some as a bit of a humble-brag, but many more social media friends will be inspired by your obvious dedication to your dog. You and your pup worked hard, so go ahead and share that incredible display of willpower!
6. Naughty by nature
Bad boys and girls who would never sit still for a photo shoot can still become shareable photo subjects — you just have to take more of a documentary approach. The Internet never grows tired of photos of bad pups looking guilty in the middle of a pile of couch stuffing or shredded toilet paper. A photo of this kind could also be of use if you wanted to crowdfund some training classes.
7. Stuffed animal magnetism
Does your dog’s adorable face bear a resemblance to a stuffed toy’s? For this shoot you will need a dog who will sit perfectly still as you arrange a stuffed animal (or two, or 10) next to her. You will also need to find some toys that look as much like your dog as possible. The more your pup blends in with the playthings, the higher the squee factor.
8. Get a leg up (and I don’t mean peeing)
I’m not sure who first came up with the idea to put pantyhose on dogs, but plenty of Internet pooches have got legs and know how to use them to get social media shares. There’s something about seeing a retriever’s hindquarters in a pair of control-top tights that appeals to people — but beware, pantyhose may not appeal to your dog. Even if your dog will submit to wearing stockings, they should only be worn for as long as it takes to get the photo.
9. Dress for success
A photo of a dude wearing glasses and a tie is nothing special, but a photo of a dog wearing them — well, that’s worth hitting like for. If your dog doesn’t mind posing in people accessories, this can be a great shot. Sunglasses will help conceal eyes that wander away from the camera.
10. Worth a thousand words
You’ve no doubt seen photos of dogs posing with handwritten signs detailing their misdeeds. These shaming pics are popular for a reason — if done right, these can attract shares like fleas. You need a sign with a clear and concise explanation of your dog’s hilarious mishap. You also need to have legible handwriting and good grammar — if you don’t, you’re only shaming yourself.
11. He thinks he’s people
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Whether it’s a pup who spontaneously slides over to the driver’s seat or just a doggie on the couch who puts his paw on the remote, dogs pretending to be people are super shareable. These pics need to be snapped in the moment, though, because once a dog moves from his unplanned people pose, it’s nearly impossible to recreate it.
Read more about taking photos of your dog:
- 8 Tips for Taking Pictures of Your Dogs With a Cell Phone Camera
- 10 Tips for Getting Great Photos of Your Dog
- Teresa Berg’s Five Tips For Better Dog Photography
About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.