10 Tips for Getting Instagram Worthy Photos of You with Your Dog While Traveling

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Dog friendly travel is a great opportunity for influencers, bloggers, and small business owners alike to add new, interesting, and unique photos to their social media and general marketing repertoire. However, if you’re anything like us, you often find yourself behind the camera and not in front of it with your dog and the products you’re selling.

Showing your face in marketing materials and social media can help potential customers feel a connection to you and even grow the connection you have with existing customers. While we do think our dogs should shine, we also think you should be present because you are a huge part of your business’s story.

Teammates Gryffin and Chelsey - Gindelwald, Switzerland - The Pack Teammates Gryffin and Chelsey – photo courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

This post is presented by Sleepypod, who is teaming up with the new Amazon Original unscripted competitive reality series, The Pack. The Pack exemplifies the human-animal bond as it follows 12 dogs and their human partners tackling challenges together while traveling around the globe. The series will premiere on November 20 on Prime Video. Packed Weekend also launches the same day, three days of deals, delights, and experiences for dogs and dog lovers alike to further their bond. Brands like Sleepypod will celebrate Packed Weekend with discounts, giveaways, and upgrades.

While traveling with your dog is exciting and fun, remember that it’s easy to pick a location close to home to visit. If you do travel to other cities, states, or even countries, CDC guidelines strongly recommend checking local guidelines for any travel during COVID.

10 Tips to Get the Best Photos of You & Your Dog While Traveling

1. Research & Plan Ahead

This is a very common theme in this article, but it’s so important to be prepared. An amazing benefit of travel is that we get to see and explore places that are new and often unknown to us. This can also make something task oriented like getting a great photo with your dog stressful and challenging.

No matter what you want your experience to stay positive and happy, so gathering as much information ahead of time is a great way to reduce possible issues.

Research the place you are going to find out if there are any amazing photo spots that you don’t want to miss. If you find any must see locations that are extremely popular, try scheduling those visits for a less busy time so both you and your dog can be more focused on yourselves and on getting a few amazing photos.

While we know it might change, look into the weather ahead of time. This research should give you a decent idea of when to plan your outdoor photo sessions. Also keep in mind the times for sunrise and sunset in case you want to take advantage of the golden hours.

Teammates Charlie and Donna, Ace and Mark - The Pack (Left) teammates Charlie and Donna, (right) Ace and Mark – photos courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

2. Determine How To Physically Take Photos

One of the biggest challenges of getting photos of yourself with your dog is the actual mechanism of taking the photo.

If you are traveling with a friend or family member, then you can, of course, ask them to take a few photos of you and your dog throughout the trip.

TIP: Be specific with what you are looking for. Hopefully, you’ve given your travel companion fair warning that you’ll want to take lots of photos, so they’ll know what to expect. But when it comes down to it, don’t be shy about telling them exactly what background, framing, orientation, and more you are looking for in your photo.

If you don’t have a travel companion, then you can always ask a stranger. You can guide the stranger by suggesting what you’d like to see in the photo, but keep in mind that they are doing you a favor and are most likely on their way to somewhere else.

TIP: It’s okay to hang out in a great photo spot for a bit and ask a few strangers to get an assortment of possible options, so then you can pick the best of them later.

Another option when traveling alone with your dog is to try out your camera’s timer. Most phone cameras and DSLRs have them built in and many also have the option to link a remote control. Though this can take a few attempts, it’s a great option to avoid asking other tourists for help.

The one problem you may encounter is where to actually place your phone or camera to take the photo. Placement can be hard as you’re somewhere new and balancing a camera can be tricky. That’s where tripods come into play. There are many tripod options and the best choice for you will also depend on whether you’re using a phone or DSLR camera or something in between. There are large tripods, small tripods, phone cases with tripods built in, and even tripods with flexible legs that can grip onto something.

And of course, there are also selfie sticks. The downside of these handy tools is that it’s a little more challenging to get a specific position and framing of the photo, but they do alleviate many of the other possible problems. Selfie sticks aren’t allowed everywhere, so make sure to check before you go.

And no matter what option you choose, just make sure to think about it ahead of time so that you’re ready with any tools you might need. And it never hurts to have a backup plan or two, just in case.

Lindsey Vonn and Lucy, hosts of The Pack - Grindelwald, Switzerland - The Pack Lindsey Vonn and Lucy, hosts of The Pack – photo courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

3. Setup the Scene

Before you even ask anyone for help or setup of your camera to take a photo, you need to think about how you actually want to capture the scene you’re creating with yourself, your dog, your background, and potentially your products.

What is the focal point? What do you want the viewer to see first?

It could very well be you and your dog, but you might also want to draw more attention to the background or a product you are featuring.

It’s important to make these decisions ahead of time because it could affect the position of your camera, the information you convey to your volunteer photographer, and even the placement of you and your dog.

Teammates Snow and Josh - Florence, Italy - The Pack Teammates Snow and Josh – photo courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

4. Beware of Lighting

For outdoor photographs, we can’t control how the sun shines or the clouds move, but we can be aware of them. And for indoor photos, we definitely can’t request the place we’re visiting to replace all of their fluorescent lighting.

A general rule of thumb is that you want any light to be in front of you rather than behind you. That way the light brightens your faces and allows viewers to see the details and expressions rather than a bunch of shadow.

You don’t have to look directly in the sun to make this happen, but you do want any lights shining on you rather than your back.

If you’re unsure about how the light is, take a few practice shots of where you plan to stand or of your dog by themselves. This will give you the insight you need to know if you have to adjust to reduce shadowing.

Teammates Ace and Mark - The Pack Teammates Ace and Mark – photo courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

5. Get Your Dog’s Attention

For posed shots, you want your dog to look at the camera as much as possible.

If you have a volunteer photographer, give them a treat to wave around and encourage them to make noises that might grab your dog attention.

If you’re on your own, you can try placing a treat or even favorite toy on top or right next to the camera. If it is something that your dog loves then they’ll be more likely to look at it with an excited expression. They even make holders for tennis balls and other fun toys that you can attach to your phone now!

Teammates Dixie and Brian - The Pack Teammates Dixie and Brian – photo courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

6. Train, Train, Train

Getting the best pictures while you’re on vacation really starts with preparation months and even years ahead of time. If your dog is difficult to hold or handle, then it’s going to be even more difficult to get amazing photos.

If you know you’re headed on a trip soon or even just would like to someday soon, start practicing photo shoots with your dog inside your home. There won’t be as many distractions and things to worry about when you’re out in the world, but it’s a great place to start.

In addition to holding practice photo sessions, you also want to brush up on your dog’s basic training.

“Taking photos of your dog is a great way to capture wonderful moments together with your dog. There’s lots of training you can do at home to make your photo sessions go smoother. Practice teaching a sit in various areas around your home and out on walks together. Start rewarding whenever your dog looks at you to get a nice watch me behavior. Take a treat and say ‘Watch me” and go with the treat from their nose to between your eyes, when your dog looks at the treat between your eyes give them the reward. Practice this constantly and slowly build up the time/duration that your dog is holding that ‘watch’ behavior. Doing this will help you keep your dog’s focus during training.”
– Nicole Ellis, Dog Trainer, Safety and Wellness Expert on The Pack

Once your dog is comfortable at home, you can graduate to somewhere a bit more challenging and unknown like a local park, outside your house, or on a restaurant patio.

Nicole Ellis with her own pups - The Pack
Nicole Ellis with her own pups – photo courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

And once you are on the go and out on your adventure together with your dog, make sure you keep an eye on their comfort level. A great way to prevent any possible issues is to expose them to the new area without the added pressure of trying to get an amazing photo.

“Once you are traveling and want to capture moments of your pup, first go for a walk in the area to get your pup more relaxed and used to the new surroundings, letting them sniff and take in the sights. Remember to stay relaxed and have fun, spending time with our dogs should be enjoyable and fun for both of you.”
– Nicole Ellis, Dog Trainer, Safety and Wellness Expert on The Pack

7. Get Down on Your Dog’s Level or Bring Them Up To Yours

Dogs come in so many different shapes and sizes. While some large dogs may be seen in a photograph just fine sitting or standing next to their human partner, smaller dogs may get lost.

If you have a smaller dog, kneel or sit down next to them so that your faces are closer together.

You can also pick them up and hold them close to your face, so you both can be featured beautifully in the same photograph.

8. Try Candid Shots

Posed photos are beautiful and very useful in marketing materials, but candid shots often tell a story so much better.

Whether you have a volunteer photographer or a camera with a timer, make sure to get a few photos of you with your dog doing things you’d naturally do.

It can be as simple as looking into each other’s eyes, giving them a treat or a scratch behind the ear, or even telling them how adorable they are.

Teammates Ace and Mark - The Pack Teammates Ace and Mark – photo courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

8. Try Candid Shots

Posed photos are beautiful and very useful in marketing materials, but candid shots often tell a story so much better.

Whether you have a volunteer photographer or a camera with a timer, make sure to get a few photos of you with your dog doing things you’d naturally do.

It can be as simple as looking into each other’s eyes, giving them a treat or a scratch behind the ear, or even telling them how adorable they are.

Teammates Jax and Vania - The Pack Teammates Jax and Vania – photo courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

9. Bring Lots of Treats

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Make sure to pack some of your dog’s absolute favorite treats. They are working hard and the modelling business should pay well – even if the currency is just delicious snacks.

Teammates Bozley and Mitra, Snow and Josh - The Pack (Left) teammates Bozley and Mitra, (right) Snow and Josh – photos courtesy of The Pack and Amazon Prime Video

 

10. Keep Things Positive, But Know It Might Not Be Easy

In the end, having a wonderful and positive trip with your dog is worth more than a few photos. Keep that in the back of your mind no matter how the photo shoot goes.

The weather might not cooperate. Your dog might see a squirrel. There might just be too many people around to get a great photo.

But, at the end of it all, the memories you make together matter the most.

Do you take photos with your dogs? Where is your favorite place to travel together?

For more information on:

Sleepypod – sleepypod.com

Amazon Prime Video’s The Packamazon.com/thepack

Packed Weekend – packedweekend.com