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“How do I get my dog to look at my camera phone?” - Take Better Photos.

Jack Russell being photographed in Dandelion field using cameraphone.
Scrooby in the Dandelions

Capturing the perfect shot of a furry friend can be a challenge for anyone. One of the hardest aspects of taking better dog photos can be getting the dog to look directly into the camera phone. Most are easily distracted and aren’t interested in cooperating, often refusing to look where you want them to.

As some of you will know, I work almost exclusively with dogs off-lead in outdoor settings with a unique camera set-up. My unique style has required a unique approach, so my tips and tricks for getting dogs to look at the lens don’t always cross over into other types of camera…That said, to make this as useful as I can for you, I’ve written this list of 5 tips as if I was using a camera phone...

It’s often a case of finding what they like and don’t like. This can even change within the photo session!

1. The famous Treat Trick:

Treats are a great way to a dog’s heart, and an even better way to get your dog's attention. Holding a treat close to the camera lens or just above it, and your dog will likely look directly at the camera. The hardest part will be keeping your dog far enough away from the lens!

Jack Russell in a dandelion field, taken on a cameraphone.
Portrait of Scrooby taken on cameraphone.

2. Making a funny/unusual noise:

Noise is another technique that works well. Try tapping the phone screen with a fingernail, or a squeaky toy just behind the phone. This can help your dog to focus where you want them to. I often have a stack of squeakers in my camera bag or pocket! Or you could use your voice to call your dog's name in a happy, high-pitched voice. Try a phrase like "look at me" (I use "what’s this?" a lot!) and then reward your dog when they look.

3. Use a Clicker:

Dog training clickers can be helpful, although I’ve not used this one very often. Click the clicker and immediately give them a treat. After a few repetitions, your dog will learn that the click sound means that they will be rewarded.

4. Move the phone quickly in your hand:

This technique can be helpful for getting your dog's attention, especially if they are already looking in your direction. Move it quickly from side to side, and your dog will follow it with their eyes…hopefully :p

5. Use Toys/balls:

Another way to get your dog to look at the camera is to use their favorite toy. I’ve found this works really well for ball obsessed dogs. Hold it near the lens and move it around, encouraging your dog to follow it with their eyes. A word of warning. If you over excite the dog or hold onto their favourite possession for too long, they may attempt to get it back again by launching themselves right at, and often through, the camera, resulting in dropped and smashed screens!...use this tip with caution.

Give these different techniques a go to find out what works best for your dog, and don't forget to reward them with treats and praise when they do look at the camera. Remember, getting your dog to look at the camera is all about making it a fun and rewarding experience. Depending on your dog, some of these tips may lose their effectiveness pretty quickly, so be prepared to mix them up and use them sparingly. With lots of patience and practice, you'll soon be able to capture some amazing photos of your furry friend. Oh, and be flexible… The best shot is often not the one you’re setting up for!

And if all else fails, you could always try what I do...

Just say "Look at the camera and smile!" -- click through slideshow >>>


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