Tips For Great Dog Photos
I have been taking pictures of dogs professionally for years. Whether it is shooting portraits in a client's home, images for calendars, action shots at dog sports events, advocacy and awareness work for Leave No Paws Behind, or networking images to help get homeless shelter dogs adopted, I have gained a lot of experience that helps me make great images. People are always asking things like, "how did you do that?", "what settings are you using", or the dreaded "what kind of camera do you have?". Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you take great images of your pets today!
While being a professional photographer implies using professional equipment, I have tried to create a list of tips that have nothing to do with equipment. They can apply whether you are shooting with your cell phone, a point and shoot, or a DSLR. Along with that, these tips are things I've learned over the years that can help even if you are working with a nervous and scared stray dog that just got dumped at a shelter.
1. Focus On The Eyes
2. Use "Good" Light
3. Reward Your Models!
4. Capture Relationships
Relationships can also be shown between dogs themselves. Sometimes it is projected in subtle ways, and other times you can't help but capture the relationship between animals.
- A favorite toy or ball waved above the camera.
- Treats held at the camera.
- Squeakers, whistles, clickers, or some other type of noise maker (I have a duck call I use).
- Have the owner stand behind you and try to get their attention.
6. Think Like A Sports Shooter
- Use a fast shutter speed. If your camera allows you to set the shutter speed, plan on using something 1/500th or faster.
- Use burst mode. Most cameras have a burst mode that allows you to hold down the shutter button while the camera takes multiple images. Often you will find that the first image is out of focus, but the middle images of the sequence are sharp. Even cell phones like the iPhone have a burtst mode. When using the iPhone camera, you can either had down the shutter button or the volume button (may be model specific) to take multiple images.
- Use Continuous Focus or a "tracking" mode. Some cameras and phones will have a tracking mode to maintain focus on fast moving subjects. It works great for tracking dogs in motion.