Jan 22 2010

Photographing Fido

Photo by Josh Solar

Photo by Josh Solar

Capturing pictures of your four-legged friends can often leave you frustrated, (especially if they don’t listen well) but when you do get those great natural shots, it’s totally worth it!  So, here are 10 simple tips I use that you can follow to get those great shots of your favorite fuzzy companion.  Don’t worry, I’m going to keep it easy and leave out the f-stop, shutter speed, camera setting stuff!

1. Capture the Personality.  You’ll want to photograph your dog in a place where they are most comfortable.  Taking them to a park with lots of distractions makes it just a little bit more difficult to capture your dog being your dog.  Get them into the spots they love to sleep, where they enjoy running around, etc.  You know where your dog is most comfortable, so take the pictures there.  That’s the best way for you to get good shots that show your dog’s personality.

2. Avoid Distracting Backgrounds.  Keep distracting elements out of the background of your photos as much as possible.  Street lights, power lines, a cluttered desk- you get the idea.  These are all things that will distract your eye from the real subject, your awesome dog.  Pay attention to the colors of the background as well.  Avoid brown and black backgrounds for darker colored dogs and vice versa.  You want your dog to stand out.

3. Get In Close.  Get up close and personal with your dog.  This will enable you to fill the frame with what’s most important to you. 

Get In Close!

Get in close!

4.  Get Down to Their Level.  Just like when taking pictures of kids, you want to get down on your dog’s level.  They are usually more comfortable with you that way anyway.  It gives you a better angle than the always standing over them looking down shots.

5. Details, Details, Details.   Some of my favorite pictures are of doggy noses, tails, paws etc.  The details that can only be captured if you get in close to your dog.  Plus, it gives you another chance to give them a little love. 

It's All About the Details!

It's all about the details!

6. Photograph in Good Light & Turn Off Your Flash.  You want to avoid flash because it makes your dogs eyes look red in your photographs.  Look for good window light, or if your are outside, shade.  Try to stay out of direct sunlight, as it will not give you the true color of your dogs coat.  Also, you want to find even light.  This means light that hits your dog evenly, as opposed to half in direct sunlight or half in the shade.  This kind of light will play tricks with your camera and affect your pictures negatively.

Lighting makes all the difference!

Lighting makes all the difference!

7.  Use Humans!  Capture some fun candids with your kids playing with the dog.  Including the humans who are closest to your dog will make the images mean more later on in life. 

8.  Don’t Be Afraid to Bribe.  Use treats, favorite toys or items that motivate and hold your dogs attention. 

9.  Let Your Pet Get Use to the Camera.  Don’t just whip out your camera and start snapping away.  The shutter click usually startles them.  Give your dog the opportunity to sniff the camera an keep it on you while you play with them for awhile.  This will help your pet to feel comfortable with the camera. 

10.  Snap! Snap! Snap Away! Your dog moves a lot, and they are fast.  So take as many photos as possible, just continually snap.  You will be amazed at the amazing images and angles you will be able to capture.   

Above all just try new things.  It’s digital, not film, so this gives you the flexibility to try some new and creative things.   Don’t forget to have fun.  If you’re having fun and excited your dog will pick up on that energy and have fun too. 

Written by Josh Solar
Photographer and Owner of Solar Photographers

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