Most of us see cute dog photos on social media or in magazines, and we assume that we can capture similar shots of our dogs. You pick up your camera and a couple of props similar to those from some legendary dog photography, and then immediately come to the realization that your puppy isn’t feeling it. They won’t stay put, they don’t want to look at the camera, and they’ll likely get bored after a 5-minute doggy photo shoot. So how do dog-owners get genuine photographs of their double-coated dogs? Well, the task demands your time and patience.
You need to remember that perching and gazing into a camera is strange for a dog. Chances are if you let go and have some fun with your beloved dog you’ll end up with much better pictures.
Here are our top 15 photography tips and tricks for impressive shots of your double-coated dog:
Start with Your Dog’s Personality
Before you get started with the photographs, ask yourself ‘what are my dog’s unique traits?’ Think about their personality and then try to capture some of it in your shots. If your pet is a sleepy, lazy or placid little thing, you can set up your photo shoot around its bed to capture his or her personality. But if your pet is hyperactive, inquisitive and always on the move, it might be better to capture moments of them racing, playing around, or poking their nose into a set up hole with treat on the other side.
Get Your Dog Used to the Camera
If you just take out your camera or phone, you might end up scaring him or her and ruining your photo op. To avoid this, keep your camera on you for some time, even when you aren’t taking photos. Let your pet get used to seeing the equipment and give your dog special treats to connect the camera with positive experiences.
Consider the Context
In choosing the location to photograph your double-coated dog, you might want to consider a variety of other factors also. For starters, choose a place where your dog will be comfortable and at ease. Also, observe the familiarity of the location and the emotions that it will evoke in you like the pets owner.
Get in Close
It’s worth the effort for the details that can be attained and their personality that can be grabbed in an up-close and personal shot. This can genuinely lift a snapshot to new heights. In case you can’t physically get close to your dog, bring your camera equipped with a zoom lens for achieving the best photos.
Get On Their Level
Get down on your dog’s level, where you can look at them eye to eye. Step into their world and catch a glimpse of what life resembles from their perspective – you’ll be surprised by the results as they are more intimate and have a factor of authenticity.
Mix Up Your Framing
Double-coated dogs, like human subjects’, appear different from different sides and framing them in diverse ways can bring out various aspects of their personality. In your photo shoot catch some tightly cropped shots (concentrating on single features like whiskers, eyes, ears, noses etc.) as well as full-body photos.
Try Different Angle
Catching your pet at different angles is a great technique to get a unique photograph. Try getting to higher ground to look downwards at your double-coated dog while they sleep; this is a fantastic way to catch him or her curled up and looking adorable.
Props and Outfits
While a candid picture of your dog is excellent, it can be amusing to include a few props or even outfits to get an unusual shot. One of the best dog photography tips and tricks is to add a simple splash of color with a toy or scarf. It can add an entirely new dimension to your photo.
Light makes any shot what it is, and when it comes to pets, it’s especially crucial. In general, we wouldn’t recommend using a flash as they tend to distract dogs and in some cases will even frighten them. Natural light is a significantly better alternative, so where possible outside photo shoots or indoor locations where lots of light comes flooding in tend to be best. With dark double-coated dogs, you might want to slightly overexpose your images for this same reason.
One of the easiest ways for you to add context to a photograph is to include the extraordinary people from the life of your pet in the shot. Pictures with the kids, other family members, or close friends interacting with your dog can make the images incredibly memorable for years to come.
Freeze the Action
The key to any subject on the move, is to freeze their movement using fast shutter speed. Almost all digital cameras now allow you to shoot in complete manual mode if you feel optimistic about getting the arrangement of shutter and aperture right.
Well, not literally. A lot of owners want to catch their dog with that trademark ‘grin’ – you know, the one with their tongue flopping out to the side and a big smile on their face.
However, dogs rarely do it on command. If you want to get your pet to smile, take them out for a run at the park.
Double coated dogs can be playful little devils and rather than trying to contain their energy to get them to pose for that one shot, it’s often more convenient to go with their playfulness and make it the primary focus of your photo. Capture candid shots mid-wrestle or doing some other fun activity to make your photo shoot a memorable experience for both you and your double-coated dog. Your shots are likely to reflect their happiness, achieving the best photos possible.
Catch them Unexpectedly
Posed shots can be fun and useful, but one thing we suggest you do is to photograph them paparazzi-style, i.e. candidly. Take photos while they dig up flowers or as they sit in the car with their head sticking out. Photograph them when they are barely aware of your presence, so the shots are really natural.
Use a Wide Angle Lens
Using a wider angle lens allows you to not only get in close but also capture a lot of your puppy. The other benefit of it is that using a wider angle lens will often give your image a little distortion, offering a new creative and fun perspective.