Photography tips: how to capture stunning portraits of your dog

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We all strive to capture the beauty of our favourite furry friends, and photography these days is so advanced, we all have a myriad of tools sitting right in our pockets on our smart phones.

Here, I will share with you some top tips on how to capture your very own stunning portraits of your best friend whether you are a photography buff with the latest camera gear, or a regular smart phone camera user!

Action Shots

Dogs are very fast moving subjects, they’re also unpredictable which can make canine photography a little tricky at times. Luckily, if you are using a DSLR or professional camera, you can increase your shutter speed to capture action shots like jumping, sprinting, or catching something.

On an iPhone, if you’re dog is moving around having the time of their life, try dragging the shutter button (the button your use to take the photo) to the left, your iPhone can take up to 10 photos a second.

On android phones look for ‘continuous shot’ mode, this can often be found in settings, and many androids and Samsung phones allow you to hold the shutter button down to take multiple photos at a time. By taking lots of photos in quick succession it allows you to move your phone around, your bound to capture a great action shot in no time.

Props

Introducing props such as found items in the forest like nice logs, fallen trees or even a favourite toy at home can be tricky. Often, trying to pose dogs around props is met with dogs wanting to play, or even run off with said props! Allow your dog to relax in the setting first, sniff and investigate the props.

Don’t stress your dog out by forcing them into positions they don’t want to be in. Try to capture candid photographs of your dogs interacting with props in a natural and fun way. This will be much more relaxing for your best friend, and you, the photographer!

Angles

Dogs are usually at a much lower eye level to their human counter parts, unless you have a giant breed like a Great Dane or Newfoundland type! Often, when we take photos from a standing position we are pointing our lens down at our Pets, this isn’t great for showing their true proportions, or showing the body of the dog.

Try lying chest to the floor, and keeping your camera in line with your dogs eyes. This will allow you to capture a much truer proportion of your dog, and also because you are now on a similar level, you may find your dog interacting with you much more allowing you to take some really interesting photographs.

dog photography

You can also try putting your camera completely on the ground, capturing some of the ground or grass and pointing the camera up at your pet to make your dog a much larger subject in your image. Getting a muddy tummy is all part of the fun for you and your pet.

Backgrounds

Often when our dogs are doing something silly, cute or photo worthy, we take a photo and there is other distractions within the frame of the image. Sofas, cushions, the odd hand or shoe. These can all distract attention away from your main subject, your beloved pet. You don’t have to use fancy backdrop equipment if you don’t want to, find a plain wall, use a bed sheet, or a simple background to allow your pet to be the main feature in your pet portraits!

Fun and stress free

Lastly, and most importantly, let your pet dictate your photographs. Most family pets and dogs are not trained to stay in positions for long periods of time, and if you have not trained your dog to sit, or stay, don’t expect your furry companion to grasp that now when you pull the camera out.

Relax, and have fun, this will allow your pet to relax and be their natural amazing selves, be camera ready, with a simple background or interesting prop in the area and be ready to get down and muddy on the floor!

Images by Sarah Bartlett

This is a guest post by Sarah Bartlett. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk.

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