Tips for photographing dogs that have nothing to do with your equipment.

December 03, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Tips for photographing dogs that have nothing to do with your equipment.

 

1. Location

A dog’s welfare should be the most important aspect of any shoot so they should feel comfortable, safe and happy wherever they are, so location is of great importance. I always ask clients for their opinion of where best to shoot their dog.
 All dogs are different, so you need to do whatever they are comfortable with and be flexible. The dog’s welfare always comes first.

 

 

2. Make it fun


A shoot should be fun for the dog, the owner and of course
you, but in that order. As with the location what you do on a shoot must be what the dog enjoys. Usually, they are motivated by either balls/toys, food, other dogs or their owner.
Discover their motivation and the shoot should run a lot smoother. Do remember to allow for the dogs to be dogs; give them time to explore, sniff and rummage around. Generally, the happier the dog the better the results.


 

 

3. Lighting and weather conditions

It goes without saying that you should never take a dog out when it’s going to be too hot or too cold for them.  Bailey, my border collie will tolerate all weathers, but smaller,
short-haired dogs may not be so robust. The general principals of photographic lighting also apply here. Try to arrange your shoot times to coincide with the golden hour and as a bonus you might be rewarded with a sunrise or sunset at which time you can get some great silhouettes. Try to avoid very bright days with harsh shadows and burnt-out highlights.

 


4. Be Patient

A walk for a dog should be a fun time for them to have exercise, sniff, play and just to be with you. They should not be made to sit for 10 minutes while you figure out your settings and or while you take 50 shots of the same thing and keep
them waiting while you check the images. Talk with the owner and have an idea of what kind of shot you want to do before you go out. Take some test shots without them, tweak your settings until you think they are right and then, ask your dog to be involved. If you can get them to where you want them then great. Take a couple of shots quickly, reward them, check your images and if you need to do it again fine, just allow your dog to do their own thing in the meantime.

Be patient with them, but also with yourself. It takes time to learn the correct settings for different situations and it also takes time for them to learn what you are asking of them. However, you should never, ever make a dog do anything they really don’t want to do.

 

 

 

5. Dog first, photos second


It should always be about the dog, their welfare and happiness. Happy dogs make for happy dog images. Technical stuff can be learned over time, but this is the secret to doing it right. Talk with the owner, no one knows
what their likes and equally important, doesn’t like, that them. Work as a team and everyone will have a fun experience. Fun experiences are related to friends who tell their friends and so your reputation and business grows!

 


 

 

 


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