Welcome to day 1 of the Dog Photography Mini Course.
By the end of day 3, you will be able to capture stunning pictures which will last forever!
Today we’re covering the basic things you need to know, and we’ll also start playing with the camera, the environment and of course your dog. Let’s dive in!
1. Start with a familiar dog
Your own dog, or a dog you’re familiar with, will listen much better than a dog who doesn’t know you. In order to make it easy for yourself, I highly suggest you start out with that.
When you know the dog you’re photographing, you know how far you can go and when you can push it just a little bit more. An added benefit is that you can put the dog in the position you prefer (and try to keep him there).
When you’re planning to go on a doggy photoshoot, it’s best to take someone with you who can handle the dog as well. Perhaps someone who can make him do some tricks or keep him in place. That way, you can focus on taking pictures!
Once you learned to photograph your own dog, you’re ready for a bigger challenge. You can ask your friends or family members if you can do a photoshoot with their dog. I mean, who doesn’t want that?
Keep in mind that the task may be much more tricky, because the dog probably won’t listen to you.
2. Have fun!
Remember, the whole process of taking pictures with your dog should be fun, for the both of you. If your dog is not used to being photographed, he might be all over the place.
Don’t get frustrated about it. Your dog senses it and he gets frustrated as well. I recommend that you start taking pictures after you come back from a long walk. Your dog will be more calm, so that makes it a lot easier.
Don’t forget to reward him with some good candies throughout the process!
3. Your environment
You had a productive day, everything went well!
The dog was listening, the sun was shining and everyone had an amazing time. You get back home, load your pictures to your computer and BOOM, the pictures are photobombed by random stuff like dirty socks, garbage or some random strangers in the background. What a shame!
It’s easy to ignore your environment when you’re focused on the dog. It’s a classic rookie mistake. Of course it’s possible to edit those things in Photoshop or something similar, but not without tampering with the image quality. While photographing your dog, you must pay close attention to your surroundings.
The best way to do this, is to have a proper inspection of the environment before you start the photoshoot.
Also during the shoot, you should watch what’s happening around the model. It only takes a minute, and you save hours of Photoshop time!
4. Camera Settings
The settings of your camera depend on a few factors, but they are quite basic for beginners. When you take pictures inside, use a big diaphragma (low F-value). That setting makes the picture lighter and makes the background more blurry.
You can lower the shutter time to 1/80. However, most people can’t handle this slow shutter time by hand, so it’s advised to use a tripod or something to keep the camera steady.
Set the ISO value to maximum, depending in the amount of natural light there is.
When you go outside, you have much more natural light. In that case you’ll need a bigger F-value. This enables you to capture the surrounding environment with ease.
You can set the ISO value to 100 to reduce the amount of blur in the background.
The shutter speed can be increased from 1/120 up to 1/1000.
The benefit of shooting outside is that you won’t need a tripod because there is enough natural light available to shoot by hand.
The best lighting to photograph a dog is soft light. You can compare it to the amount of outside when it’s cloudy.
Don’t go for a shoot in the sun and avoid taking pictures on a sunny day next to a window. Make sure that the light surrounding the dog is not too strong.
The reason for this?
Strong light makes the eyes look darker, and that’s something you want to avoid. However, there is an exception, and I recommend you to try this!
Go and take pictures during the twilight period (the time just after the sun goes below the horizon, but it’s still light).If you already booked a photo session on a sunny day, I recommend you go to the forest.
Dogs love going to the forest and the shattered light can create some cool effects!
6. Watch your movements
Unless you want to take some action pictures, it’s better to stay still and avoid sudden movements. Move slowly and naturally around the dog when you take pictures! If you move too fast, the dog may see it as a gesture to play or that you move to another location.
You’ll always want to take pictures from several angles, so the dog needs to stay still!
Is the dog laying on the ground or is he in a good position? Don’t move until your camera has focused and captured the shot. Avoid eye contact as well. When you make eye contact with the dog, his face will follow your eyes.
Pro tip: If you want to take a cool action shot after this one, make a sudden movement and capture a few shots immediately after that. You’ll capture the dog’s first reaction!
© 2020 Advanced Canine Education