The majority of dog owners love to see and take pictures of their dogs. We have an intrinsic need to journal their journey through life visually.
Most dogs, for some reason known only to them, are quite camera-friendly! They don’t know what you’re doing, but they know it must be something important. After all, you are focused on them!
To get great pictures, use these dog photo tricks.
Because we don’t know the secrets professional photographers use, some of the pictures we take are just so-so, but we keep them. By bearing in mind a few simple tips, more of your pictorial challenges to document your dog’s life and capture their character will be fondly cherished.
Today, with digital cameras, it’s much easier than years ago when we had to remember to have film on hand and then remember developing those rolls. Now, all we have to do is make sure we have plenty of fresh batteries and a spare memory card. Most of us have the necessary basic software to do editing — a little cropping here, a little more lighting there. Presto, we have a great shot!
Here are a few dog photo tricks to remember:
Dog photo tricks: Keep camera handy
Keep your camera handy and ready to go.
You never know when you’ll need it.
Be patient. As we all know, dogs have a short attention span. You may be enjoying the goings-on, but don’t be surprised if they get bored and walk off. Find something they like to keep them involved.
Wait until they are napping to get some cute sleepy shots.
Many puppies yawn and stretch when they first wake up. Capture that!
Use natural light
Natural light is always better than using a flash. When possible, take advantage of natural lighting.
Try to get more natural light into the room. Move your subject near a window or take the shots outside.
Using natural light helps prevent the pet or red-eye common to so many pet photos.
Get on the floor
Photos taken at eye level are more interesting than top shots.
More of your dog, less background makes for a better image.
Now you see their world from their perspective!
Dog photo tricks: Play with your dog first
Tire your subject out. A little exercise takes some of the wind out of their sails.
This is especially true before attempting to photograph puppies or active dogs.
They make better models when they aren’t so fidgety.
Use an assistant
Have an assistant. It’s much easier to get your dog to focus when someone else is helping to get their attention by making noises, waving a treat, or squeaking a toy while you concentrate on the shot.
Change your focus
Full headshots are great, but pictures focused on special features, and details such as a crooked ear, a mottled nose, or beautiful eyes make the photo a little more interesting.
Remember, it doesn’t always have to be a picture of their full face. A dog’s character is more than just its face.
Try a few different angles. You can do paw shots, profiles or if their tail or markings are unique, take a shot of them. Details are out of the ordinary and will make your photo unique.
Fill the frame!
As a rule, asymmetrical photos are more interesting than those with the subject right smack dab in the middle.
Stop shaking. Hold that camera steady.
Rest it on something or someone if need be.
If the photos you are taking are “studio” shots, invest in a tripod.
Dog photo tricks: Drop the pose
Candid shots are often the most fascinating. Allow them to go about doing whatever they are doing and capture the moment when they are off guard and not posing.
Surprise them! Don’t give them a chance to pose. The expressions caught on surprised pictures are usually priceless!
Action shots are a bit harder since you don’t want them to be just a blur. Most cameras today have an action or sport setting. Don’t forget to change the setting when your dog is playing, jumping, or running.
To lock in an action shot, the button on most digital cameras can be pressed halfway down to “lock-in” the action. Then press all the way down to expose it.
Watch your backgrounds
Watch your backgrounds. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish a dark dog from a dark background. Other times it works great.
Zoom in for close-ups. The zoom lens is a great way to get those candid shots without distracting your subject.
Use props. They may have a favorite ball or stuffed toy…get it in the pictures. Years from now, you’ll fondly remember how much they loved that item.
Play around with your camera. You’ll be surprised at what you can do with it and a little bit of imagination.
Have fun! Take lots of pictures using these dog photo tricks. If they aren’t perfect, so what? You can edit them with a tad of cropping, red-eye fixing, or highlighting.
The most important thing is, you are creating a diverse and out-of-the-ordinary chronicle of precious memories of the times you shared with your best friend.
Karen A. Soukiasian is the owner of Good Dog! — Dog Training in St. Augustine, Florida. You can follow Karen on Facebook.