SCUFI: How to shoot closeup for impact and great dog photos

puppy on Spokane River at Plantes Ferry

A teacher put an SLR camera in my hand for the first time in high school.

It was one of those “kid, ya got something” moments.

The same teacher taught me “SCUFI,” or “shoot closeup for impact.”

That’s become so important to me with dog photos, especially when I’m looking for that magic moment between you and your dog.

We’re tasked with fill the frame for this week’s edition of the worldwide pet photographers blog circle and SCUFI is a great way to do that.

Impact in dog photos

You know how much I love the landscapes where I live or have lived.

It’s my favorite way to fill the frame: dog plus beautiful Spokane landscapes.

Recently, I’ve started taking a cue from New Zealand dog photographer Craig Turner-Bullock, who does a masterful job of celebrating the landscape and beachscape of his area. He makes hand-free panorama images, which he calls Dogoramas, and they are just dreamy.

A video of his teaching made me grab my camera and go outside.

hiking with dogs to mount kit carson summit

The summit of Kit Carson

And I did it again with Desi at the lake last week.

panorama of golden retriever at Sherry Lake near Colville, WA

Desi at the lake

But that’s just me getting distracted from talking about closeups! Squirrel!

I ended up lucky this week with the perfect puppy session to get close up, fill the frame with my subjects, and celebrate the bond between mama and dog.

Look at these two dolls:

puppy snuggles for dog photos in Spokane, WA

Shmooshy face

Sevro, named for the character in Pierce Brown’s sci-fi trilogy Red Rising, is a 10-week-old pitbull-border collie mix. His mama, Brenda, is an old friend who helped us train Bella when she was just a puppy.

Brenda is a terrific dog trainer in Spokane, WA, and Bella’s inability to listen is so not her fault. (It’s a Maremma sheepdog thing.)

Sevro already sits, stays and walks on leash.

puppy at Plantes Ferry in Spokane Valley

Me and my mama

He is one of the most gentle, calm puppies I’ve ever met and I can clearly see how much he and Brenda already love each other.

puppy kisses for dog photos

Nip you, mama

These two needed so little direction.

All I had to do was say, “Brenda, pick up your puppy and love him.” They filled my frame with sweet, magical moments.

women poses for dog photos with puppy


When she sat Sevro down for a stay, I zoomed right in with my 70-200, squeaked and meowed a few times, and this happened:

puppy head tilt

Head tilt!

Wide angle to get super closeup

A long zoom is a great way to get closeup and take away any distractions in the background.

If you’ve been following along, you also know my penchant for super wide angles and how I get so closeup sometimes that I have to wipe puppy nose smears off my lens.

I just love the curious, goofy effect from filling the frame with puppy face.

wide angle of a puppy at Plantes Ferry

Hi, I’m Sevro.

All around the circle

I loved filling the frame and getting closeup with Sevro. It also gives me the opportunity to get lots and lots of kisses, drawing in magical puppy breath.

Now let’s see how the other photographers in the blog circle filled the frame in dog photos.

Start with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper Photography.

Click the link at the bottom of Shae’s post to get to the next post and so on. When you get back here to Sevro and his magical moments, you know you’re home.

Right where you belong.

If you’re ready to book a session for dog photos — closeup or panorama — head over to my contact page where you’ll find all the ways to get in touch.

6 thoughts on “SCUFI: How to shoot closeup for impact and great dog photos”

  1. Pingback: About A Dog Photography | 52 Project: Fill the Frame

  2. Pingback: Pupscapes: Spokane panorama makes 1 perfect dog portrait

  3. What a great acronym, but like you, I also adore wide open spaces and LOTS of negative space – I embrace both! Super cute series and I’m sure your client LOVED the images!

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