Photographing Multiple Dogs: Creating a Perfect Dog Family Portrait

A question I get asked frequently is: can you photograph a portrait of multiple dogs?

And the answer is, YES!

podencos dachshund and romanian rescues photographed in a field

If you’re a household of multiple dogs, then of course you’re going to want to have an epic dog family portrait. I’ve done a fair few in my time. This beautiful family of rescues was photographed in their own field, which was full of lush grass and ferns. The height differences between the podencos and the smaller dogs meant that we had to elevate the littlest dogs up on boxes, but I think it adds to the charm.

Multiple dogs can also be photographed in the studio. In fact, I can photograph an epic family portrait of multi-pet households too (think dogs and cats).

Border collies and Manx kitten photographed in studio

What’s the trick to photographing multiple dogs?

The quick answer is planning, patience and Photoshop.

Planning: If shooting on location and you want all the dogs in focus, but still want the separation from the background that shooting wide open at f2.8 gives, then all the dogs will have to be on the same plane of focus. That means they’ll have to be in a perfect line, the same distance away from me. So, taking time to set up the shot beforehand is really important. Using visual markers is really helpful for this.

Patience: It can be hard enough sometimes to get a perfect photograph of a group of humans! And they can understand what I’m asking them to do. Animals, on the other hand, will almost undoubtedly be looking off in different directions when the shutter is pressed. This is where patience comes in. The trick is to keep on shooting, it doesn’t matter if they don’t all look at me at the same time, I’m just aiming to get multiple photos, as long as each dog is looking at me at some point.

Photoshop: If I don’t have a perfect shot where every dog is looking at me, then this is where I take to Photoshop. A perfect dog family portrait can be created from the multiple frames we’ve shot. I don’t need to stress the dogs, you or myself out by insisting every dog needs to look at me all the time – I just need an individual photo of each dog looking at me, and then it’s a case of swapping a few heads in Photoshop. Then, just like magic, we’ll have a perfect multi dog portrait.

These are just a few more of the multiple dog families I’ve had the pleasure of meeting:

whippet puppies photographed with mother in plan pots

So, if you have a household of multiple pets and want a beautiful family portrait, know that it most definitely can be achieved.

Give me a shout if you’d like to have a chat about arranging your own dog photography session.