They say Britain is a nation of dog lovers, they also say never work with children or animals. Have you ever tried photographing your pet pooch only to be disappointed by the results. Here (in no particular order) are a handful of photography tips to help you achieve better results when you’re photographing mans best friend.
- First rule of all portrait photography is focus on the eyes. Most dogs have long snouts, so if you focus on the nose the eyes can be out of focus.
- Most humans are tall compared to a dog, so get down and shoot from their eye level see the world as they do.
- Have a hyperactive dog who just cant stay still? Use a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement when they are running and jumping.
- For the older or more sedate natured dog, try a wider aperture setting. This will help reduce distractions by throwing the background out of focus. Don’t forget “most dogs have long snouts” if the aperture setting is too wide your best friend could end up with a burred nose.
- Some dogs are natural posers, you can get good shots just by getting them to sit while holding their attention with a treat or toy. For most distraction is the key give them something to do or play with that you know they love then you work around them.
- Don’t always work alone and do a little planning. Get another member of the family to hold your hound while you move some distance away. On a preprepared signal get your helper to let your pet pooch go and you grab some great action shots as the dog comes charging towards you. If your auto focus is slow or you dont have follow focus try pre focusing the camera on a fixed spot you the dog will run through and fire the shutter as they cross the focus point.
- Sticking with the theme of helpers why photograph your dog in isolation? Get someone you love and who the dog is relaxed with to interact and capture that on camera.
- Make it fun! Photography may be fun for you but most dogs are not the type who will happily perform on command for the camera. Make things fun for your pet and it will show up in your photographs through the dogs body language.
- Watch, not the one on your wrist! Watch with your eyes. Your dog is genetically 80% wolf, so while walking with your dog and camera take time to watch and learn its instinctive behaviour and try to capture a more subtle side of your pets character in your photography.
- Know your dog. Good photography can often come from to knowing your subject and being able to predict what’s going to happen.
- Sometimes all you need to make a photograph really work for you is a caption!
Right at the start I mentioned they say “never work with children or animals” well here is another tip – many of those tips work with kids too.
Have your own top tips for dog photography?
Feel free to add them below.