By Elaine Mashburn
It’s very common to hear people speaking about experiences they have had trying to photograph
their pets. Many times you will hear of mini disasters where an animal will fall from some sort of make-
shift prop, or where a prop has fallen on the pet. Most often it is frustration you hear from the pet owner. They dress up the dog, run for the camera, & then can not encourage the dog to hold still at all.
These are all things that can be alleviated by a few simple tips that we are providing right here.
My FIRST tip & I feel it is the most important: Be FULLY prepared. Yes, this sounds like a bit of over-kill but I promise that it is not. You should gather and bring along any props that you might need. These could be blankets, benches, toys, brushes–yes brushes. With some pictures you may only have
one chance so you will not have time to go and get these things. The better prepared you are the better
your chances of getting that great shot!
#2) Move in CLOSE. The closer you are to your Dog the better detail you will have. If the lighting
is right you will see the “catch lights” in the eyes. This really brings out the expression on the dog’s
face. You also need to make sure the ears are up & that the nose is wet. These little details will
really enhance your photograph.
#3) Speaking of LIGHT…Good lighting is a Critical element of any pet photograph! Low lighting requires longer exposures which usually spells disaster. Good side lighting will really enhance the texture of the dog’s coat. Please remember if you are shooting your pictures outside that the optimal times are early morning or late afternoon. The sun shines more at an angle & provides a much better quality of light for photography.
#4) Place yourself on the Dog’s Level. Always try to be shooting from the eye level of the dog. This
again helps to fully capture the expression you want.
#5) One of the true advantages of Digital Photography is that it allows you to shoot multiple shots at no cost to you. This is great when photographing dogs because you cannot control their movements, etc. Another key advantage is that with digital you can most often see your shot & know if it is a winner. Irregardless, I most often shoot 2-3 shots of key poses to make certain I get a winner!
So, in essence many of the problems we encounter when photographing dogs can be alleviated with
some simple preparations. Good planning, great preparation and being flexible enough to anticipate
problems that may arise. Try these out the next time you set out to photograph your pet. I think
you will be pleasantly surprised.