Your dog is not just your pet its a family member. Check out these tips for creating stunning images of your pets to add to your family albums and photos on your walls.
- Capture your dog’s character.
- Be patience.
- Use natural light.
- Reward your dog.
- Capture the bond with your dog.
- Use props.
- Get down to your dog’s level.
- To plan your shots or not.
- Shutter speeds should be fast.
- Images don’t always have to be sharp.
- Check the background.
- Focus on your dog’s eyes.
- Grab your dog’s attention.
Capture your dog’s character. Some dogs have those sad puppy eyes. Some have eyes that can melt your heart. Our dog Cody has beautiful eyebrows. I have found when capturing a dog’s character in a photo is with candid shots. Don’t try posing your dog. Let them do there thing and catch them just being them.
This next one can be tough for most dog owners looking for that image of their dog that brings a sense of accomplishment. Be patient. That’s right, and I know it can be tough. One day, I spent hours with my aunt Kathey and our dog Cody trying to get her to stay while we walked about 25 feet away to get her running and leaping through some flowers. We were at Marshall lake in Flagstaff, Arizona.
We found out from a farmer in the area that they were in a drought normally the lake was full of water, but the last three years there was not much rain, and the farmer’s cattle were grazing and spreading flower seeds in there poop.
Instead of a lake full of water, it was covered in flowers. It was incredible everywhere you looked, there were flowers. We kept trying to get Cody to stay. After several tries, she finally would stay, and we got some fantastic shots. So take the time and be patient.
Using natural light is always best when it comes to photography, even if your inside. Open up your windows and curtains and let in the natural light. I use to get so upset when I would take pictures inside, and they looked so blue. You can make a change to your camera to fix them. Natural light is a better choice. Shoot early in the morning or later on in the evening a couple of hours before sunset is best. Don’t shoot in the middle of the day because the light will be harsh.
Rewarding your dog is always a good thing to do. My aunt and I spent hours and hours training Cody. Always have some type of reward. It doesn’t have to be a doggie treat. Use a positive tone of voice or a dog toy. I learned that even when you use a firm tone of voice, back it up with a positive tone at the end. It goes a long when getting great photos of your dog. A dog that’s trained with love and positivity is a happy dog.
Make sure to capture the bond that you and your dog have. Dogs bring so much love to a relationship they have with there owners. You can tell how well a dog is treated by the bond between the owner and pet.
Using props can be fun to do when photographing your dog. People love to dress up there pets; it always looks great in photos. I have seen a lot of pictures were people put their dog on pool floatables. Try different props to make sure the prop does not stress your dog. Always be kind to your dog.
Get down to the level of your dog. It helps to draw in your viewers. You can tell photos of dogs were the photographer got down to their level because you can see the world how a dog sees it.
Some times I think its good to plan your photos. It’s also a good thing to be spontaneous. Planning takes out some of the stress. I have found over the years, I prefer pictures taken spontaneously.
You will need to use a shutter speed that is at least 1/1000sec. Something else to keep in mind is to set your camera on tracking mode—Al servo for Canon or Continuous focus for other camera models. Another tip is to use the back button focus option on your camera. An F/5.6 is good. Be sure to hold your camera steady when tracking your dog to get some sharp shots.
This goes against what I said earlier about using fast shutter speeds, but your photos don’t always have to be sharp. Use a shutter speed of 1/500sec to shot motion. It can make for some beautiful pictures of your dog in action.
Check the background for distractions. There’s nothing that drives me crazy when I get home and download my images, and there’s something in the background that makes for a lousy photo.
My dog Cody has some of the most beautiful eyes. The eyes are the key to the soul. It shows so much of a dog’s personality. The emont it can show is fantastic. Some of my favorite images of dogs are where the photographer focused on the eyes.
Getting your dog’s attention is very important. Use treats a favorite toy, whatever you have to use it. Have fun!
By Michael Vance Pemberton
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