- Know your camera! If you end up needing to take a few quick snaps before your dog gets up or want to capture a photo of them while in motion you are going to need to know exactly how to accomplish this according to your camera’s capabilities. While some cameras make it super easy, if you’re using a professional DSLR then you should make sure you customize a few things.
–Shutter speed should be at least 300 or higher. This way if your dog does move it will freeze them in place and you won’t get that dreaded motion blur (unless that’s the affect you’re going then by all means!)
–Aperture. Ok so this one can get tricky for less advanced photographers. I know I struggled the most with the concept of aperture when I first started shooting. Say you are in your awesome little home studio set up where you want the background and other props around your pup to be in focus. You will need to be shooting at about a 6 or higher. Be aware, however, that when you start raising your aperture you are going to need more light so make sure it’s nice and bright when you’re shooting! Now, if you’re anything like me, you probably want nothing but the dog in focus with creamy, beautifully blurred background. I’m not gonna lie, it took me a long time to master this one but now I can set my aperture to 1.2 and still nail focus about 80% of the time. (Only took a year! Lol) Set your focus point and point it right between the dogs eyes or just slightly above dead center and it should turn out great. Keep in mind lower aperture is not great for a moving subject so let’s hope you have a pretty well behaved dog or you’re gonna get a lot of unfocused photos!
–Focus. Some might consider this cheating but whenever I’m shooting dogs or moving subjects in general I use auto focus. So sue me! When I was first starting out I tried to master child photography using nothing but my handy dandy…well hand to focus and it was less than satisfactory. So I make it a point to use auto focus because well they wouldn’t have invented it if it wasn’t totally awesome!
2. Try to teach your dog some basic commands. This isn’t an absolute deal breaker or anything, but if you want to pose your dog at all it will definitely make your life a lot easier! Otherwise, what I like to do is take my dogs into the home studio area and make the spot where I want them really comfy and enticing by laying down some fake fur or a rug of some sort. Then, I sit around and check my phone for a bit and wait for them to get situated because 99.9% of the time it’s on the exact spot I just set up for them. Boom. They just did all the posing work for me and all I gotta do now is make some weird noises or say their name to get them looking into my camera. Sometimes if my trickery doesn’t work I will gently lay them in that spot and shame them if they try to move. Just kidding. No. No I’m not.
3. Get Weird. I’m serious. Get as weird with your noises and hand movements as possible. I’m convinced our next door neighbors think I’m certifiable and the people across the street probably see me in our upstairs bedroom doing all sorts of weird movements and think I’m performing cult rituals but I’m serious, it works. My dogs look at me like I’m a total idiot and I love it. This might make me a bad dog mommy but sometimes my girl Lily can look nothing short of enthusiastic in photos if I don’t capture her truly capture her attention so sometimes I will ask her if she wants to go outside. I even draw it out because it makes her reaction all the more dramatic. Doooo. You……wanna go…..outsideeeeee? I get the most fantastic inquisitive head tilt out of her and nothing makes me happier. I let her outside after I’ve gotten what I need. 🙂
4. Keep it simple. I know all those sweet dog photos on instagram might make you want to whip out all the bells and whistles but to be honest the best photos I’ve ever taken of my dogs have either been candid or in a super simple set up using nothing but a piece of faux fur or a blanket. However, it’s all about what works for you and how you choose to express yourself so WERK IT however you feel. I personally choose light and bright as my go to style but that doesn’t mean you have to!
None of my dogs were hurt in the making of this blog post. 🙂