How to photograph a dog

REC-20101225-135145

© Richard Cox

Preparation

  1. Allow plenty of time for the dog to become comfortable with you.
  2. Instruct the dog owner to have the dog bathed and groomed prior to the photo shoot.
  3. Bring attention-grabbing toys to get the dog to focus on your camera when it is time to capture the photo. Surprising the pet will create an alert look that will last a few seconds. Toys that squeek are a good choice.
  4. Use treats sparingly to encourage the desired behaviors. A treat-focused dog may become unruly.
  5. Consider the use of props. Too many props can be a distraction in the composition and make it more difficult to capture the shot you want.
  6. Plan the shoot for when the dog is somewhat sleepy (either just waking or ready for a nap) when he is likely to be easier to keep still.

Photographing the dog

  1. Use natural light to avoid startling the dog with the flash of artificial lighting. Shoot one hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset to get the best available light conditions.
  2. Get down to the level of the dog to shoot at his eye level.
  3. Focus on the eyes to make sure that they are in sharp focus.
  4. Photograph the pet in positions and activities that are typical in order to capture the true character.
  5. For an alternate composition, try shooting down on the dog from a higher level, using a stairway or ladder.
  6. Try filling the frame with a portion of the pet (e.g. just the face) for a different view of the subject.
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