Some dogs appear in photos as if posing was in their blood. Do they pose or do you need a special talent to photograph dogs? Is it possible to learn how to take beautiful dog photos with a lot of time and effort? There is a bit of truth in each of these statements, but there are nevertheless a few basic rules that will help you take a nice photo of your dog.
How to take a nice photo of your dog?
Stand, sit and stay… or basic distance commands
If we want to take a portrait or a photo of our dog against a nice view, such commands will allow us to stop him for a moment or even send him to a particular place. Optical commands are useful here, e.g.: the outstretched hand is „stop”, the palm up – „sit”, the palm down – „stay”, the movement towards you – „to me”, the movement in front of you – „run”, and the movement of the head to the side – „roll”. At the same time, we also practice and consolidate the commands, and finally, we have a good picture.
Shame and a few other tricks in front of the lens
What tricks we use in a photo depends mainly on
our imagination, our willingness to teach the dog and the dog’s willingness to learn. The dog can hold something in its teeth, touch it with its paw, sit on a small object, hold something still on its nose, cover its eyes with its paws („shy”), jump over an obstacle…
A squeaky ball, a treat and an assistant – we focus the dog’s attention
A dog that focuses attention on something tends to have a tighter, prettier body, erect ears and an alert gaze that draws the eye. He also moves less, which gives you more opportunity to take a sharp photo in low light.
How we focus the model’s attention will largely depend on the dog. Some will be more interested in the squeaking of a toy, others in a treat, and yet others in our words. It’s very useful to have a second person around to help get the dog’s attention, to say a command, or just to hold something for us while our hands are busy with the camera.
Let’s come down to earth, or perspective from the dog’s level
This is probably one of the most important tips. Shooting from the so-called frog perspective allows you to keep the right proportions of the dog and shows the background and surroundings more interestingly. This sometimes involves crouching or lying in the grass and mud, but the results are worth it! Of course, it is possible to take an interesting portrait of a dog „from above”, but in most cases, it is worth going lower.
Working in a group – observing how dogs behave
Sitting with a camera in a group of playing dogs is wonderfully relaxing, and entertaining and produces a lot of interesting photos. It’s worth observing the dogs, looking at their relations, body language, playfulness, and even trying to predict what will happen next.
In pictures taken in such circumstances, you can capture extraordinary moments! What is more, these photos look very natural and the dogs have expressions on them that we may not notice every day.
A sharp look – focus on your dog’s eye
Especially when you’re taking a portrait photo. Without focus, the eyes simply won’t be good. To do this, it’s best to focus manually (otherwise the camera will focus on the nose or other object closest to the lens).
Pickiness and moderation
This can be hard to do, especially with your first dog, first camera, first trip… But it’s a very important tip that applies not only to dog photography. Not every moment of light is worth taking a picture of. Sometimes it is worth waiting for another moment. The possibilities of digital photography encourage you to take endless pictures.
However, there is usually nothing interesting in dozens of similar shots. Sometimes it’s better to think about the frame and take only a few shots. And even fewer to show to others. It’s better to be unsatisfied than bored
The ideal camera for photographing dogs
It is said that a good photographer can take a good picture with any camera and there is a lot of truth in this. However, when photographing dogs, a lens with a long focal length and fast autofocus is useful.
Finally, the point that is most important for us in photography – is the light. Despite appearances, a cloudy day will often allow us to take better photos than sunny noon when the light is sharp. We love to take pictures just before sunset, during the so-called golden hour. We recommend a calculator which will allow you to determine it more precisely: jekophoto.eu/tools/twilight-calculator-blue-hour-golden-hour/index.php
There are different kinds of dog photos and there are different ways of approaching the subject: a thoughtful portrait of a couch lover, a dog sporting a frisbee in flight, a reportage from a dog trekking competition or a picturesque landscape with a dog in it. So, put your camera in your hand and let’s try – practice makes perfect. It is also worth looking at the photos of experienced photographers – we can find in them a lot of inspiration for our unique shots.
What are your tips for taking successful dog photos? Share in the comments!