Dog Photography advice
Posted on 17th May 2023 at 09:59
Photographing your dogs with images that truly reflect their character can be quite a challenge. Often, they are too quick, leaving you with blurry images of nothing but a wagging tail, if they have a dark coat, you end up with photos where only their eyes are visible, and then there is the problem of a very short attention span, making it difficult to capture those perfect shots and genuine moments as they refuse to look at us or the camera.
It’s my awesome job to create amazing and dramatic portraits of your dogs - here are a few tips that will help you capture some unforgettable moments and make sure it’s a fun experience too - enjoy.....
1. Focus on their eyes
The most important thing to remember is to get the dogs eyes in focus.
You may love your dog’s happy smile and cute wet nose, but it’s their eyes that are the most important thing in a photograph. So unless you want to focus on another feature of your dog’s face, the photograph must have the dog’s eyes in focus, use your camera’s focus area to be on that part of the face when you take the photograph.
It's the camera’s depth of field setting (f stop) that will determine how much is, or isn’t in focus when you take the photograph.
Noises, treats or important words (walkies, dinner etc) are used to get the eye contact you desire, I have a pocket full of different noise makers (squeekers, duck calls etc) to get the dog to look at the camera and get the beautiful portraits that I want.
2. Get down to their level
After twenty years as a dog photographer this is one of my top recommendations, it will help you create some great photographs of your dogs. Now I’m not suggesting that you spend the majority of your day lying around in the dirt and mud (as I do on a typical dog photography session) but it will make a massive difference to your final photograph.
When you are down low, the camera will be in line or below the dog’s eye level, giving you a real connection between your dog and yourself.
You can also give see the background behind for any distracting elements and ensure that you just want to look at the dog first and not what is behind it.
You will almost be able to tell what they are thinking, and see the light in those beautiful sharp and focused eyes. Every dog wants your attention, so you want to make sure that you have it in the photographs that you capture.
3. Get them up on something
If you find it difficult to keep your dog in one place when you take the photograph, why not try putting them up on a tree stump, log or large rock, but always making sure they are safe and happy in the place you have decided to put them, you can use the time that they pause and survey the spot that you have put them in to take the shot.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to show them in the environment as well.
4. Watch the direction and strength of the light
Soft natural light is the most flattering not only for humans but for dogs as well, so think about the time of day or place that you are going to take the photographs.
Plan ahead and think about when you might be out with your dog, either earlier in the morning or late in the afternoon are the times that will give you the best light. The sun will be lower in the sky, and the shadows are much more softer, and will show off the muscle tone, dogs fur and colouring that much better.
Shady areas will helps control any issues that you may have with direct sunlight and harsh shadows.
5. Photograph them in action and enjoying life
In the natural environment that walk your dog, sometimes they will be off the lead and running around having fun, creating beautiful still life portraits is one thing, but capturing them enjoying their time outdoors is another very popular option.
Using a ball to direct them to run in a specific direction (normally towards the camera) all you need to do is get your timing right, use a fast shutter speed (at least 1/1000 of a second to make sure that your action shots are sharp and you freeze the motion) and voila! it does take some practise, but when you have it down to a tee, the photos will be full of fun and looney looking dogs.
6. Think about using different locations
Go to one of your nearby country parks, get wet and wild in a river stream or head to the hills, all of these options will make for outstanding images and give plenty of variety to the photographs you will have of your dog, and don’t forget the fun elements too.
Not every image you take needs to be absolutely perfect, you are creating memories, but when you do get that fabulous photo have it printed and put it on the wall, sometimes the shots you thought didn’t work will turn out to be the memory that captures the dog that you know and love the best, and finally don't forget those candid moments, they make for some great memories too, the way they look at you, how their tongue is always sitting out of the side of their mouth, the way that they stand, and the little head tilts that they do when you talk to them - BUT the most important thing is to have some fun with your camera photographing your best furry friend.
I hope that these tips will help you to get better photographs of your dog, if you want to know even more I do one to one courses, you can learn from one of this countries leading International Dog Photographers, I truly love every second I spend behind a camera, and love sharing my ideas and working practices with others.
Would you prefer to book a professional?
Why not celebrate your dog or dogs with us and book in for a session, one of our beautiful portraits on your wall will give you enjoyment and memories for years to come.
Tagged as: Dog Photo Session, Dog Photographer UK, Dog Photography Services, Photographing Your Dog, Professional Dog Photography, UK Dog Photography
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