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Online Photography Course
Photographing Your Dog with an SLR Camera

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: 4-Week Short Course: Photographing Your Dog with an SLR CameraLearn the secrets for capturing the beauty and personality of your "best friend". Using an SLR camera, discover the tips and techniques for great dog photography from photographer Jen Bidner, author of Love Your Dog Pictures, Dog Heroes: Saving Lives & Protecting America, and Is My Dog a Wolf?)).
Key Features

  1. Perfect Pet Portraits
  2. Mastering Flash and Lighting
  3. People & Puppies
  4. Action Dogs

  •  For novices through serious hobbyists.
  • Tips and techniques for better dog pictures.
  • Quickly master your camera, apertures, and shutter speeds and special functions for amazing results.
  • Understanding dog behavior as it relates to taking better pictures.

What You Get


You get direct feedback on your photos from world-acclaimed, professional photographers. You can learn photography in this way from anywhere in the world.  
  • Learn at your pace, with structure.
  • Be guided by a real pro instructor.
  • Get your photos critiqued every week.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!



Photography Instructor: Jenni  Bidner Jenni Bidner

Jen Bidner is an instructor with She has 20 years experience in the photo industry as an editor, author, and photographer. She is the author of over a dozen books. Jenni is the former editor of Petersen’s PHOTOgraphic magazine and Outdoor & Travel Photography magazine. She is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with a BS from their Professional Photography Department

Bidner is the author of over a dozen books including:

  • Love Your Dog Pictures: How to Take Great Photographs of your Pet (Amphoto)
  • Is My Dog a Wolf? (Lark Books, Juvenile)
  • Is My Cat a Tiger (Lark Books, Juvenile)
  • The Amphoto Complete Guide to Photography (Amphoto)
  • The Kids’ Guide to Digital Photography (Lark/Sterling, Barnes & Nobles)
  • Dog Heroes: Saving Lives & Protecting America (Lyons Press)
  • Kodak’s Most Basic Book on Digital Printing (Lark/Kodak)
  • The Lighting Cookbook for Fashion and Beauty Photography (Amphoto)
  • The Lighting Cookbook (Amphoto)
  • Guide for Models: Inside Advice from Industry Pros (Lark Books)
  • Making Family Websites (Lark Books)
  • Best of Nature Photography (Amherst Media)
  • Kodak Pocket Guide to Digital Photography (Kodak/Silver Pixel Press)

In addition, Bidner’s words and pictures have been published in numerous major magazines and newspapers worldwide.

In her spare time, Jen Bidner is a K-9 Handler with a volunteer search & rescue unit in the Chicago area, working with her two dogs Ajax and Yukon to find lost and missing people. Her award-winning book Dog Heroes: Saving Lives & Protecting America (Lyons Press) features her photographs and stories of search and rescue dogs.

A Couple of Photos by the Instructor

© Jenni Bidner 

© Jenni Bidner 

Course Outline


Lesson 1: Perfect Pet Portraits
All aspects of portraiture - from classic pictures to cute candids - will be covered. Learn how to pose your dog or a group of dogs. I’ll show you how focal length and aperture can be used for creative improvements, and how to coax the expressions and behavior you want. Before-and-after images will illustrate the lesson plan, so you can clearly understand the how’s and why’s. The assignment will put this new knowledge to the test!
Assignment: Your assignment is to share at least one before-and-after combo from one of the exercises listed in this lesson. The second and third submissions can be either before/after combos, or just the "after" images from any of the other exercises.

Lesson 2: Mastering Flash and Lighting
We thoroughly explore how lighting affects your dog photography, from selecting the right natural light, to mastering your camera’s on-camera and/or accessory flash. Overcoming the difficulties of photographing white or black dogs will be discussed. Tricks for modifying the lighting for creative purposes will be explored.
Assignment: Your assignment is to share at least one before-and-after combo from one of the exercises listed in the lesson - related to light and flash. The second and third submissions can be either before/after combos, or just the "after" images from any of the other exercises.

Lesson 3: People & Puppies
Two aspects of dog photography will be explored here - people and puppies. Learn how to take great pictures of dogs and their people (including self-portraits!), from posed images to candids. We’ll also cover the nuances of photographing puppies. Since puppy models may not be available to everyone at the time of this course, students will have the option of a People & Dogs assignment, a Puppy Assignment, or both! Either way, you’ll be prepared to take award-winning pictures the next time you photograph puppies.
Assignment: It's self-portrait time! Please take a self-portrait of you and your dogs and submit it as your first photo in the assignment. Your other assignment pictures should be of other people and their dogs. Try and work on poses that are interesting, but natural looking. Please state in the title which tip is emphasized.

Lesson 4: Action Dogs
SLR cameras are great for action photography. We’ll cover lenses and focal lengths, shutter speeds, panning, composition, and other aspects of canine action photography. A wide variety of techniques will be explored, from classic (telephoto) action to creative wide-angle and panning images.
Assignment: For our final assignment, I'd like you to take some action photographs. Try to line up two helpers and an enthusiastic dog, and try the running shot. See if you can manipulate your camera's controls to get a sharp and a blurred version. Even if you can't get that much variation, practice your panning! I'd also like you to do some candid action shots, where you shoot dogs playing or participating in an activity.

© Jenni Bidner 

© Jenni Bidner 



  • SLR digital camera, or point-and-shoot camera with aperture and shutter speed controls.
  • Simple image-editing software.



Is this course intended only for beginners and hobbyists?
This class is intended for any dog lover who wants to improve their pictures of their dog. Two versions of the class are offered, based on the capabilities of your camera. This class is for anyone using an SLR camera with interchangeable lenses and aperture/shutter speed controls. We will be discussing lens selection and exposure control as it pertains to dogs.  

I have an SLR camera, but I always use it in P or Program mode. Should I take the other class?
You’ll probably want to stay in this class. Your camera has extra capabilities. Why not learn to use them?  

I already know all about shutter speeds and apertures. Will this course help me?
Yes. Part of the class will cover how to use your aperture and shutter speeds to affect the outcome of your pictures. However, many other aspects of dog photography - including how to pose dogs, how to coax expressions, and how to compose your pictures - will be canine specific. 

My dog is black, so she looks like a black blob in all my pictures. Is there any way to get better pictures of her?
All-black and all-white dogs can be difficult to photograph well - but I’ll show you tricks for getting great results every time.  

Do I need to have a digital camera?
No, but it will be easier if you have a digital camera. If you use a film camera, you will need to "digitize" your pictures so you can upload them for the assignment critiques. This can be done by having a Photo CD made of the pictures when you bring them in for development, or by scanning the prints yourself at home with a flatbed scanner. I can provide you with a special lesson plan to help you do this. But be aware you will need to leave extra time for the minilab to make the Photo CD or to scan the images yourself. I recommend you consider upgrading to a digital camera. The instant feedback makes the learning process easier with a digital camera. There are excellent point-and-shoot models available for under $130. SLR digital cameras start at about $500. Remember, you will no longer have to pay for film and processing if you buy a digital camera, so factor these savings into your camera cost.  

© Jenni Bidner 

© Jenni Bidner 

Do I have to be online at any specific time?
No, you do not need to be online at any specific time. The lessons are sent to your email and you are also provided the Campus Square - where you interact with your classmates and instructor. This is also where you upload your photos to be critiqued by your instructor. The instructors are very punctual and respond quickly.

Will I have access to the instructor to ask questions during the photo course?
Absolutely! Students can ask questions in the special Q&A forum set up in the course's Campus Square, or can ask the instructor via email.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes. We are confident that you will fully enjoy our courses. All the same, for our 8-week classes, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent out. If for any reason, you are not satisfied and let us know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent, you will be promptly refunded.

For our 4-week courses, we offer a 100% money back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent out from BetterPhoto. If for any reason you are not satisfied and you let the ordering department know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent, you will be refunded within 7 days. After the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

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4-Week Short Course
Category: Specialty Subjects

$198.00 USD
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Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Read all 25 reviews

Course Reviews:

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 4 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Steve Miller
Steve Miller
member since: 12/28/2009
This was a very enjoyable class. The lessons covered a broad amount of information and Jenni had a lot of insights into dog behaviors and the best ways to photograph different types of dogs. The assignments were quite fun.

- 2/4/2013 7:17:01 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 4.5 out of 5
Carla Maddox
member since: 6/29/2010
Shooting animals is difficult, just like people sometimes. Jenni does a very good job in taking past photography skill and techniques and helping students apply it to their best friend. She forces you to gain patience and look for opportunities that many of us pass up. Shooting our dog was just a snapshot befor this it's intentional. Lessons are clear and concise and she is readily available to assist her students. If you love animal, I would highly recommend this class.

- 5/13/2012 3:38:41 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Sandra L. Trapp
Sandra L. Trapp
member since: 11/18/2011
Great teacher and terrific class. You learn a lot in 4 weeks. I mean a lot. Everything is explained in a clear and easy to understand manner. Her critiques are very helpful and her own dog photography is awesome. She gives lots of great tips in this class. If you want to learn how to take great pictures of dogs, I highly recommend this class.

- 4/25/2012 10:30:27 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Katheryn Terwilliger
Katheryn Terwilliger
member since: 8/10/2011
This course was great. Patch & I had a blast. I have a black and white border collie and she has been most difficult for me to capture. The self-portrait lesson was the most difficult for me but was also the most challenging and fun. Jenni's lessons are comprehensive and encouraged me to do more; practice more, review and re-shoot; and have fun. I now have a wonderful foundation and am already getting better shots of Patch.

- 12/6/2011 6:28:17 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Betsy Sasnett
Betsy Sasnett
member since: 11/6/2010
I truly enjoyed Jenni's course. This was my first BetterPhoto course and if they are all as good as hers, I will be coming back for more. Jenni's critiques are well worded and constructive. Thanks Jenni!

- 7/13/2011 6:11:10 PM

Read all 25 course reviews...

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More Delighted Customers:

"This was my first Better Photo class and based on my experience, it cetainly won't be my last. I've already signed up for another! Jenni's lessons were very informative and she always included supplemental information and tips. Jenni also was very helpful in answering other questions that did not directly relate to the material. Her critiques were very helpful. I really appreciated the fact that questions were always answered within 24 hours, as well as comments on our assignments. This was a great class with a great instructor!" -Bonnie L. Schwartz 

"What a great class this was! Jenni's lessons and assignments were well-written, organized, and FUN! Each lesson had a wealth of information and tips. Her critiques were supportive and inspirational. And she supplied a lot of supplemental information as well. It was great fun to watch all of the students improve week by week." -Janine M. Smith 

"Jenni's lessons were excellent and her critiques fair and very helpfull. She is great teacher and photographer. I have learned a great deal." -Peter C. Hollingsworth 

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