How to photograph your dog

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If I had a pound for everytime I heard the words ” I wish I could take pics of my dog like you” I wouldn’t need to play the lottery anymore! I’m always very flattered and humbled by these compliments as it means I’m in the right job! – which I love!

I’m very passionate about photography and sometimes I feel we don’t appreciate the importance of an image, until sadly the subject in it is no longer with us – at which point it becomes the most precious thing on earth.

The aim of this post is not to turn you into a pro photographer, but instead to get you thinking like one! I’ve put together 10 top tips to get you snapping pics of your furbabies you’ll treasure forever.

I hope you find this info helpful and if you have any questions please comment below and I will do my best to answer them. I’d also love it if you share your pics with me, please follow us on instagram, Twitter, or Facebook  and tag Roxy in your image

  1. Get down low! As humans we are all about eye contact and the best way to connect eye-to-eye is on the same level. So wear an old pair of jeans and get on your knees (I also wear an extra long pair of socks that cover my knees for added protection) You’ll be amazed how this tip alone will transform your pictures! 
  2. Shoot fast! This is easier to adjust on a DSLR than on a phone, but I’m hoping as you want to get better pictures, you are using something with a little more control than your phone. So take your camera out of the auto setting – scary I know, but trust me – and set it to shutter priority (TV on Canon). You need to be shooting over 1000th of second to be able to isolate the movement, obviously if they’re sitting still you can reduce it, but if your dog is anything like Roxy ‘still’ isn’t something that happens often on a walk. In the shutter priority mode, you will also need to set your ISO, remember the higher the ISO the more light it lets in, the camera will automatically set the aperture.
  3. Location, location, location! This is an obivous one, but go somewhere that’s pleasing on the eye, and as quiet as possible – you don’t want to be airbrushing stuff out of the background! 
  4. It’s all about the light! If it’s an overcast grey day and light levels are poor avoid the forest. As much as I love woodland walk, trying to photograph under the dark canopy of trees is tough – even for pro! Instead go to the beach or anywhere with open spaces. However, if it’s a really sunny day, definitely go to the woods – the light will dance off the leaves and create beautiful dappled shade. Start watching the skies at all times of the day, learn about the golden hour and then see how if affects your favourite walks.        
  5. Be preapred! If you going out with the sole intention to get great pics, you need to plan ahead. prep your kit, make sure batteries are charged and lenses and cameras are clean and free from dust. Pack extra memory cards, just in case. Put a lens cloth in your pocket – my lenses are always getting slobbered on! If you’re carrying a camera bag, make sure it comfortable and light weight and that it’s easy to access quickly.
  6. Treats and toys! I always pack both. At home Roxy is driven by her stomach but out on walk not so much. Something squeaky is the best at getting their attention and giving animation to their eyes. 
  7. Train your pup! Even if it’s just the basics. You wouldn’t believe how many dogs I work with that aren’t even taught sit! You can teach sit, stay, come and down pretty quickly, Roxy is nearly 7 and she’s still learning new tricks. The saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is a total myth!
  8. A second pair of hands. Most of my images of Roxy are shot with just me, generally trying to balance a treat or toy on my lens while making strange noises to grab her attantion. You can make life easier for yourself, if you can rope a friend or family member in to help you. Then you can focus (pardon the pun) on taking the shot.
  9. Be paitent. As with learning any new skill, it takes time. Time to learn how use your camera, time to learn about ISO, aperture, shutter speed…, but also be paitent with your dog, if you get frustrated she will sense this and if that happens, you need to put the camera down, walk away for a bit and come back to it when you’re feeling calmer. I have had my fair share of these moments, but if you persevere they become less and less.
  10. Practise makes perfect! Keep your camera charged with a memory card in it at all times. Take it on every walk, learn from every picture you take. Even now I critique every image I shoot, with a view to how I would improve it next time. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get an amazing image first time, understand why isn’t as amazing as you want it to be and try again! You’ll get there!

So there you have it! What you waiting for? Get out there and start shooting!

Spots of Love

October and Roxy xx


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