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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Dog photography, help please!
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10/14/2010 12:23:03 PM · #1
one of my college tutor would like me to photograph her dog...ive never done any dog portraits before, so i thought i'd try some on my dogs.
(I will post them soon)

But i need tips, tricks, help on how to photo them as well as ideas.

If there is any animal photographers out there can you please help, thank you!

J.
10/14/2010 12:32:59 PM · #2
Have only photographed a couple, but the biggest obstacle you'll have is keeping their attention. Here are a couple of tips.

Use wireless trigger!! It will definitely help.
have your lighting, camera settings - everything technical - ready before bringing the dog in.
Do not place dog until you know exactly what you're trying to get.
bring a squeaky toy
bring "rewards" (milkbone, whatever). Dole out in small amounts, or use to move their head in the direction you want.
try to be as fast as possible.

Good luck.
10/14/2010 12:35:43 PM · #3
Squeaky toys, bring lots of noise making toys to get their attention most dogs will sit OK but they need something to get their attention so you can get them to look in the direction you want them too.

beat me to the squeaky toy....not fast enough

Message edited by author 2010-10-14 12:36:25.
10/14/2010 12:37:59 PM · #4
Cheese on the lens hood works well. Make sure you choose the time of day correctly, when my dogs are tired, no amount of cheese will get them to "pose". <Presuming you are using artificial light>

As Johanna said, make sure you are ready to go before bringing in the dog.

Always best to treat them to a dance first!

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Message edited by author 2010-10-14 12:38:09.
10/14/2010 12:42:44 PM · #5
Take a look at this thread for some suggestions.
10/14/2010 12:46:07 PM · #6
Rule #1: get down to the dog's level (or raise the dog to your level if it's a toy/miniature breed). That's the *main thing* that separates the serious portraits from the snapshots.

R.
10/14/2010 12:49:36 PM · #7
Make the owner help. You deal with getting the camera set up and have the owner stand behind you and get the dog's attention (use a squeaky toy only if the dog won't make a dive for it). It often helps to just hang out with the dog for awhile before starting the shoot, so the dog is familiar with you and calms down after the initial excitement of seeing a new person. If the dog has been trained to "stay" the shoot will be a piece of cake; otherwise you need lots of patience.

Have the owner clean the dog's face (eye goobers and such) so you don't have to clean it up in PP.

Avoid direct flash; it's a bear to make the eyes look realistic when you start with alien eyes.

Clean, simple backgrounds work best, but I've gotten some really fun portraits in places like playgrounds and in front of brick fireplaces. Find out where the dog is happiest and see if that gives you some unique background possibilities.

Make sure you have enough DOF to get the nose and eyes in sharp focus, and that the dog is far enough in front of the background to safely blur it out.

Use a fast shutter speed to compensate for little head movements. Continuous/burst mode can be your friend in these situations.

Make sure you have catchlights in the eyes. Dogs look lifeless without them.

Take LOTS of pictures. One is bound to be nice ;-)
10/14/2010 12:50:00 PM · #8
Thank you all very very much and thanks for the thread link!

Yes i am using artificial light, im not sure if she wants any garden pictures...but i'll get around that when it comes :-)
10/14/2010 01:13:47 PM · #9
If you haven't shot dogs before you may think of the treats as optional. They aren't. Having a fist sized bag full of pea sized treats on your belt, and giving the dog a treat after every few shot will result in the dogs having a focused, happy, expectant expression, where he will be watching you with all his attention. If the person doing the treating is over your shoulder somewhere the dog will be looking that way, and you will miss the spark of contact that is the hallmark of a good pet portrait.

I like to start the session up close with a wide lens, head and shoulder shots, so you can give a treat to the dog and shoot without moving your feet. Once you have some usable stuff, move back and get some full body at mid range (possibly with the owner, dog on the lap, at the side, doing tricks, anything to show their relationship) then move back again using a longer lens and get the dog in motion or relaxed and exploring, being purely himself.

Shooting animals or children, I think its a good idea to have several setups in mind before the shoot, and move after a short while from one to the next to keep short attention spans fresh. Shoot close, shoot medium, shoot long. Shoot at eyelevel, from above using landings or stairs, from below at ground level or using stairs ect. for that heroic look. As long as its varied and the dog keeps getting treats, you will have his attention and interest.
10/14/2010 01:18:11 PM · #10
Squirrel!
10/14/2010 01:35:00 PM · #11
Originally posted by mike_311:

Squirrel!


lololol
10/14/2010 01:37:05 PM · #12
Originally posted by mike_311:

Squirrel!

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_914518.jpg Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_907967.jpg
10/14/2010 02:05:43 PM · #13
Talk to MaryO. She's been doing some dog shows this month... //www.dpchallenge.com/portfolio.php?USER_ID=65234&collection_id=37438
10/14/2010 02:23:57 PM · #14
treats are good way to get the dog's attention. I get my dog to pose for me with treats :)
10/14/2010 02:26:55 PM · #15

Most people seem to have been thinking inside studio........thats the last place I would ever have photographed by Puppy..........but if that is what she wants, then go for it.

You don't want new toys. Have the owner bring the dogs own toys, their favourite toys.......not just for in the photo (if they want), but for getting attention.........Best Photo I even got of 'tash was in the backyard, I had my camera and was lying down (she was a small dog) and we were playing ball........best images were when I had here favourite ball, and she was waiting for me to throw it.......she would sit, lie down, stand etc, and I could change where she looked by moving the ball..............(she loved ball games......)

And the reason why it has to be the dogs toys, my dog would not care about a new toy until she had got familiar with it.........others might be different, but a favourite toy will always get their attention..........and yes, food works.......puppy would almost do backflips for food.

ohhh yeah..........and good luck. it was hard enough to get photos of 'tash........and she was my own dog.
10/14/2010 03:00:06 PM · #16
RE: Dog photography, help please!

Didn't have time to read any posts, but I just thought I'd tell you that you can't train 'em to take a decent photo to save your life.

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_503731.jpg
10/14/2010 03:05:26 PM · #17
Assuming some will probably be doggie-in-motion shots...I shot some fairs and horse shows this past fall and learned a lot. Mostly, shoot as low an ISO as possible and a high shutter speed, 640-1200 seemed to work best for the barrel racers, reiners etc. I shot slower when they were running towards me, faster if they went bye me :-)

BTW what colour is the dog, haircoat, size etc? Do you know what breed it is? Huge diff between shooting a big, glossy black Lab outside in the sun and a rough-coated terrier whose coat may appear more matte.

Hope this helps.
10/14/2010 04:10:24 PM · #18
Originally posted by Kelli:

Talk to MaryO. She's been doing some dog shows this month... //www.dpchallenge.com/portfolio.php?USER_ID=65234&collection_id=37438


Thanks, but ... none of those were technically portraits, just opportunistic candids during the shows, and action shots from the racing. For the ones that look portrait-y, generally someone else had the dog's attention and I just moved myself to get a nice angle and lighting. It helps that I know how dog shows work, so I knew when and approximately where I could expect a dog to hold still for a moment or two, and then I just had to hope the handler didn't ruin my shot by fussing with the dog too much.

BTW, be happy you just have one dog to shoot. Getting multiples to pose at the same time (especially if they're untrained) and getting the exposure right on, say, a white one and a black one sitting together, is very challenging!
10/14/2010 04:24:49 PM · #19
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

RE: Dog photography, help please!

Didn't have time to read any posts, but I just thought I'd tell you that you can't train 'em to take a decent photo to save your life.

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_503731.jpg


Art
I feel this image is missing something..............(but I don't have time)

............poor puppy in advance.......
10/14/2010 05:14:49 PM · #20
If you are using autofocus, make sure not to focus on the end of the nose and not the eyes. It's easy to do. Squeak toys saved my life, but their effect wears off so use it sparingly. Getting a dog to actually pose seemed pretty hard, so I just worked with the dogs following them around and taking pictures as I could get them.

Good luck!
10/14/2010 09:26:46 PM · #21
Have someone with you, besides the owner with a "fishing" rod with a treat at the end of a string. Let them dangle it in front of the dog, just out of sight. It gets the dog to look up and in your direction, and snap it quick.

Make sure you've checked the background, lighting and for shadows first. The trick doesn't last very long with most dogs.

Mom
marynate.blogspot.com
10/14/2010 09:44:10 PM · #22
There are some of my comments in the thread linked to already, but you should consider whether your tutor would like just posed shots or "lifestyle" shots of their pet as well. Think of it like "doggy environmental portrait," where you're showing them in their element. It's possible, for instance, to get some fun shots of this sort when you're attempting to get pet and owner posed together, because the dog will invariably do exactly what it shouldn't and encourage a reaction from the owner.
Also, choose a shooting environment that has limited amounts of stimulation to make things easier on yourself. The more noises and smells that are assaulting the dogs senses the harder you'll be trying to get anything done.
10/14/2010 10:01:22 PM · #23
Something smelly on the owners nose can get a really cute, slurpy picture. Surprisingly enough, my dog finds the smell of tuna fish as interesting as my cats find it. (otherwise, liver sausage)
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