Shoot your dog

Yep – many is the time I have uttered the phrase “I’m gonna shoot that Bl#*!%%& dog”, especially on returning to the kitchen to find that once again my darling little Springer Spaniel had managed to get food off the counter top. The last time eating more than a dozen freshly cooked chocolate brownies which resulted in a dash to the emergency veterinary clinic as chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs. Love her really!

My springers – the chocaholic is on the right!

However this isn’t about taking your dog outside with your shotgun, more abut about going outside with your camera to capture the amazing range of personalities dogs exhibit.

  • For dramatic photos get down to eye level with your pet. So many make the basic mistake of standing over your dog (or any other pet including children!) and shooting down. This results in an odd perspective in your photos. (Although it can still be a great shot f you get over your dog and getting him looking up at you) In fact I give the same advice for any animal photography including wildlife, try, wherever possible, to get to the eye level of your subject. (Although it can still be a great shot f you get over your dog and getting him looking up at you)

Golden Retriever Puppy, four weeks old

  • Use a long lens, preferably 100mm or more, again this gives a more pleasing perspective than getting close to your animal with a wide angle, resulting in a huge nose and tiny ears
  • Timing – not only your timing in capturing the moment but also the best time to take your photos. Take your action images before your big walk so your dog is still full of energy, your portraits afterwards so your dog is a little calmer

Golden Retriever fetches duck

  • Take your time to get the best shot – all animals can be very curious as to what is going on at first and even a little afraid if you are setting up flashed images
  • If using flash it needs to be off-camera to avoid the dreaded red-eye effect

English Springer Spaniel studio shot – flash at 45degrees each side

  • Take lots of pictures – it simply increases your odds of getting  great shot
  • Enlist the help of a friend to handle the attention getting toys – but put them away if your dog is getting really wound up and distracted.

Dog poking head between fence