Dogs in Focus

IMG_7694Some L365 top tips on taking your dog’s picture

Firstly – what sort of dog do you have? Is it polite, well trained, highly obedient and intelligent? If so then all you have to do is ask it to sit where you want it, tell it how you want it to pose and take it’s picture. Then you download the picture, use it as your screensaver or wallpaper, upload it to your phone where you can use it as wallpaper too. You could  have it printed and framed then place it on the wall of your choice sit back and admire it. You can go do that now if you want. Don’t bother continuing here. You’ve got it cracked.

However if you have – what I suspect is the sort of dog most of us have – one with a little brain, short attention span, unbounded curiosity,  an eagerness to please, that joins in everything and very easily bored then read on…

A common mistake is to treat your dog like a child and bribe it to sit nicely in a scenic shot. Telling a dog that it will get a treat means it follows you wherever you go, very closely, until the treat is forth coming.IMG_2838

Relying on a dog sitting and staying when told either gets you this…

You have to be fast

or a picture like this where the dog looks like you beat it and call it all sorts of names.IMG_1052

If you try and persuade a dog to do something it will try to do it to the best of it’s ability but it’s almost guaranteed to look a bit daft.

Action shots are tricky too as the dog will rarely follow directions and when asked to will either run off  ears and tongue flapping manically into the distance or sit exactly the way you failed to make it in the previous shot.

Waiting till the dog has almost completed it’s walk and has become a little calmer and laid back  is a good idea. The only problem is that you run the risk of having a steaming, matted, muddy, twig entangled, dripping wet and foaming mess to photograph. But at least it might obey instructions.

The best way that I have found is to let the dog be a dog and accept that you have to be the one who adapts to it’s behaviour. If that means scrambling, clambering or crawling then so be it. That’s how you get the shot…and muddy and wet too.

The other way to encourage a dog into a shot is to discourage the dog from being in the shot or completely ignoring it. that will almost guarantee the inclusion of a hairy subject. Whether you get the shot you want is another matter. At least you have a dog in the picture.

The absolute best way to get a good picture of a happy dog is to be there ready when the dog is doing what it likes doing the best. Then you capture your dog doing what it does best and you have a picture that contains everything you love, treasure and want to remember about your pet. Though sometimes that isn’t the case…IMG_9480

The technical aspects are fairly simple. For those who use auto settings on your camera always shoot on sports mode. This will make it easier to capture a fast moving, restless, bored, distracted, excited or curious dog. If you want to be totally manual, and you really should, then you should shoot with as fast a shutter speed as possible.  Raise your ISO and  lower your F-stop to create light to compensate for the high shutter speed.

So in conclusion our best advice is to be there and be ready…and always walk your dog somewhere really photogenic and when the light is just right  and you might get the shot you want. Should I put more emphasis on the word might? I probably should.

How did we take the picture at the top of the blog? At the end of a long walk in a dry place (no mud) on a warm day. The alternative for the dogs was getting back in the car so the Assistants were most cooperative.

Here is a link to our Dogscapes page. Where a selection of our favourite dogscaped images are on show.

 

 

 

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