Black Chihuahua with white mohawk and bandana on black backdrop in studio in Chicago.

Getting into the Void of Black on Black


Black devil dog with glowing red eyes, in dark hallway. A terribly done photo.
I see you(r dark soul). NOT my photo. Source.

Ok so you’re chilling on the couch one evening and … wait…omg….Fido has the cutest little snaggle toof! You whip out your phone to finally snag a shot and…..

Beelzedog. Not. Cute.

If you have a black dog or cat at home, that situation is probably pretty relatable. The good news: you’re not alone.

The goodest news: there’s some easy things you can do to grab that perfect low-lit shot next time.

Tips for Photographing Black On Black In Black

1. Add more light!

Flick on a light in the room first. Try to avoid flash because that’s when the devil-dog eyes come out. Remember to keep the light behind you/the camera. It avoids lens flares (unless you’re trying to put Michael Bay out of a job, then have at it!) and your phone auto-correcting for a super light background. Bright tv’s count and windows with a bright street light!

2. Bring up the exposure!

If you have an iPhone, press and hold on a spot with dark fur until you see the AE/AF lock come on. Then, use the slider to the right to slide up the exposure. When you first tap it will auto expose but it usually averages light and dark spots in the room and won’t be enough.

If you have an Android, ask Google (kidding I did it for you!). Tap on the dark fur and it will auto-expose, but then slide up or down on the slider up top to make it brighter.

Boston terrier in a tutu with a spotlight on a black background looking fancy in Chicago studio.
Doesn’t Bruno look fancy and sleek here?
3. Fix it in Post!

It’s always best to get the exposure right in-camera in the first place. BUT if you still need a bit of a boost you can use your phone’s native photo app to adjust exposure. Butt! If the photo was too dark originally you’ll invite all that ugly grain in and not get much in the end. So expose well in the first place! (See rule #2!)

4. Hire a pro!

A professional photographer, like me!, has the smarts and the gear to make it work. We know how to light a black dog or cat so that wonderful fur texture pops. We can make a smooth background so nothing distracts from that gorgeous muzzle. We also know how to avoid devil eyes! Without all the mess of a pea-soup exorcism!

There’s lots more to it, but that’s the general gist.

Shooting black dogs on black really makes my inner emo-kid of the 90’s heart sing.

Here’s why I love it:

  • It’s sleek and elegant and a lil’ rockstar.
  • It’s clean and highlights the subject: your dog!
  • It’s a representation of who they are!

Got an emo cat or dog at home?

Let’s Get Dark.


This post is part of a blog circle of some of the most uber-talented pet photographers all over the world. Keep reading to hear how other photographers “black” out this week in the chain.

Up next: Sharon of Canovas Photography shares an End Of Life Pet Photography Session of Jack, the black cat.

Follow the circle until you land back on this page. Enjoy!

About the Blog

Welcome to the Apawture Studios Blog where you'll learn about everything from poses to wet noses and all things fashion pet photography. Sign up for the VIPP(Very Important Pet Parent) Newsletter to be the first to know what we're up to.

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1 Comment
  1. Sandra

    Thanks for the tips!

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