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2023 dog photo calendar

Swoon-Worthy Soul Searchers

Have you heard of the “soul searcher” image? It’s also known as the “lookdown”. And I also am known to call it “the puppy eyes”. (See Irresistible Shots blog post) This type of shot is definitely swoon-worthy and it’s sure to make you smile!

“When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.” (Anthony Douglas Williams)

What is the “soul searcher”?

You know this look! Picture this: You are standing over your dog looking down… into those stunning, soulful, sparkling, puppy dog eyes. They are looking right into your soul…. and you have a treat right between your eyes, of. course!

soul searcher image
pretty Nala at the beach in Beverly, MA


Is there a specific location to take this image?

What if the ground looks horrible! I am hear to tell you, that it doesn’t really matter if it’s grass, gravel, mulch or even mud! We can do this almost anymore. I make sure to do a little bit of “blur” with the ground (I won’t get into technicalities or lenses here). Pops of color on the ground are fun. Autumn leaves on a hiking trai are perfect. A stone or gravel walkway. Even patterns like brick or a wood deck make a nice ground backdrop.

french bulldog in grass
Peanut Butter in the grass
Bulldog in the mulch
Marilyn in the mulch


Do I get this type of image in every photo session?

Nope, this type of shot is not for all dogs. And that’s ok. If your dog has a bubble of space and they are a little bit worried of people getting too close, this is not the image we will be working to capture. It’s just one of MANY! I am not there to be your dog’s best friend when I take photos. I’m there to make sure that your pooch is safe, comfortable, and they are having a good time!


How do I get the dog to look directly into the camera?

Cookies! Favorite treats! A coyote or duck caller. A squeaky tennis ball. I place it right above my camera lens. Your dog will sit in front of my feet and I will look down at them from above at a steep angle. My focus will be right on their sparkling eyes. Bonus points if your dog does a little head tilt for us!

puppy dog eyes
Isabella (aka “Fudgey”) puppy dog eyes

Cats, too?

Why yes, of course!!! I have done the “lookdown” with many cats, especially when photographing the adoptable cuties from Cat Tales Rescue in Seabrook, NH. We use bring colored blankets with fun patterns and designs as floor drops. We place the cat of kitten and I use a feather or wand toy above my camera lens. They are so much fun to photograph!

adoptable kitten portrait
kitten that found a forever home


Would you put this on the wall?

Ummm…. YES! The lookdown/soul searcher/puppy eyes looks amazing framed and on the wall! I especially love a unique round barnwood frame.

pitbull in unique barnwood round frame
in memory of Lyla

What do you think? Do you love a soul search portrait, too?

A quick note that the Say Paws 2023 calendar that raised funds for the MSPCA Nevins Farm is now available! Grab yours right here: Say Paws 2023

Around the Circle

This post is part of a pet photographer’s blog circle, tackling a new topic each week. Follow along with us by clicking on the link at the end of each post. Next up Kylee of Kylee Doyle Photography shares why the lookdown is one of her favorite images to capture of your pup. Enjoy! Be sure to leave a comment – we love to hear from you!

4 thoughts on “Swoon-Worthy Soul Searchers”

  1. Gorgeous look down images! Good to know any sort of background… er ground ha! can make for lovely look down images with dogs!

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