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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> I got a job photographing a dog..
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10/11/2005 11:15:39 PM · #1
Any tips I could have? Anyone ever photograph dogs before?

Im going to be doing a 12 shot calendar, and I want these shots to be perfect. Any input is greatly appreciated
10/11/2005 11:17:26 PM · #2
Do it doggy style!

10/11/2005 11:21:59 PM · #3
Treats, treats, treats! Also a remote release is a real help so you can set exposure and focus, then spend your time closer to the dog to keep it still and doing what you want. When I shoot dogs (mostly Lexi) I'm standing right beside her during the entire shoot, never know what I've captured until after.

Also, dogs get really freaky if you set them up on a table or platform, so plan to work on the floor if you can. Is it a large or small dog? If small, work as close to it as possible (camera), if larger you might need the camera too far away to reach with wired remote, so a 2nd person to control the dog would be handy.
10/11/2005 11:23:16 PM · #4
Oh, and don't feed the dog the treats with every shot, just let it smell the treat in your hand, that's usually enough to get its attention and only let it eat a treat occasionally. Otherwise it will get tired of the treats and stop responding after a bit.
10/11/2005 11:56:37 PM · #5
Do you have a plan for each picture for the month?

Are you going to be restricted to shooting in the studio? How many sessions will you be needing to take 12 shots of the same dog with sufficient variation?

I would get a rough idea of what tones and colours I wanted for each month and shoot three different composition ideas for each.

What props do you have?

Is it all one dog?

Are you shooting your own dog or the owner's dog?

Is this a shoot for a custom calendar for one person or is it for a group? If it is for a single person, you might want to check to see if they want any holiday themed pictures. Some might really want something tied to christmas and halloween in their appropriate months, others might want something for easter, and others might want something themed to a totally different set of beliefs, and would be offended if you had something that twigged a christmas cue for December.

Some crappy ideas from me:

January - soft lighting, relaxed pose, strong attention to eyes, maybe resting on the ground. not sleeping though. eyes open. Get the whole dog.
February - Strong, active picture, maybe chasing his tail or something, lots of contrast against the background, very dynamic, maybe include a shadow?
March - Face shot, very close, maybe include only one eye?
April - Gotta have flowers - a nice running and jumping shot through a field. If a field is not handy, how about a sunflower between the teeth being offered as a gift?
May - Ground up perspective with a bright sun and a blue sky. Maybe shoot with the sun backlighting the dog's head? Face shot.
June - Basic beach. Maybe action with a jump to catch a frisbee or peice of driftwood stick. Daytime lighting.
July - Humorous shot in the summer theme. Maybe bright oversized sunglasses, maybe a hat. Maybe having him drinking a coke in a glass bottle from a straw?
August - Evening lighting shot. Looking out at a sunset?
September - if they have kids, try back to school? Apples, rulers, chairs, rimmed glasses, chalk and chalkboard.
October - If a halloween shot is wanted, try doing a hound of the baskervilles approach? very low key, but with reflections off the coat. Maybe try wetting the dog. If not, try something that has a fall theme, maybe something like leaves. You could get a bunch of green leaves and desaturate them in post.
November - I like a fireplace firelight type shot here. Something comfortable and at home, not too bright.
December - If they want a christmas shot, it's a nobrainer, otherwise, I would probably put my strongest overall shot here. You need to plan for this too of course. I would probably shoot a few ideas for this. If it is custom, maybe give a few choices to the customer for this one before you go to print. I would say a wide angle, bighead shot would be good, as would maybe a cute shot, or anything that really brought out the dog's personality.

I hope these ideas give you something to think about and are in line with what you needed :)
10/12/2005 12:08:51 AM · #6
Originally posted by mluckxxx:

Any tips I could have? Anyone ever photograph dogs before?

Im going to be doing a 12 shot calendar, and I want these shots to be perfect. Any input is greatly appreciated


Can I say how jealous I am?

Deannda
I love shooting dogs..........pictures that is :)

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10/12/2005 01:13:38 PM · #7
thanks for all the replies guys :)

its going to be a VERY small and cute boston terrier, his name is Lennon, he has HUGE eyes, and he's very playful.

I think for each month of the year im going to try to dress him up differently or something like that, for christmas i'll put antlers on his head, for october i'll put a costume or something, who knows.
I'm going to be using my stock lens (wish i had a telephoto :(), but you guys know how that is. i'll post pictures up here when i get them (i'll probably be doing the shoot relatively soon, so i'm planning it all now.)
10/12/2005 01:14:32 PM · #8
and i'm going to be doing a few outdoors and a few indoors, and its my stepmothers dog
10/12/2005 01:18:41 PM · #9
Feather boas never hurt, either... ;)

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10/12/2005 01:19:59 PM · #10
Let him loose in the park and shoot Wildlife Dog! Hehe.
10/12/2005 01:43:00 PM · #11
I showed and trained dogs for 20 yrs and in photographing them I find that a squeekey toy or piece of "bait" gets their attention and eliminates their focus away fom the person behind the camera. Get their interest in the object then throw it up slightly and in the direction you want them to look. As they follow the object snap away (burst mode is useful). Their ears will perk up and you should be able to catch some good expressions. With small dogs we put them up on a table to get a good angle. For full body shots we take the shot from the front of the dog with a 3/4 angle to capture the side view as well. Use the same bait technique to get them uo on thier toes and looking dog model like. Have fun... dogs are great subjects, if their not too bored
10/12/2005 01:47:50 PM · #12
Boston Terrier

Large Jaoule (I do not know how to spell this one) keep them moist with lemon juice and water. If dark fu, keep overlighting the dog.

Have fun and make sure the dog does not chew your camera (except if it's a nikon)

Message edited by author 2005-10-12 13:48:53.
10/12/2005 01:52:12 PM · #13
I do pet portraits for the Animal Rescue League every year. I love it! I think it's so much fun. It's neat to see the different personalities that each one has.

The thing that I find makes it easy is to make sure you have alot of patience.... sometimes they will work with you and other times they won't. I have dog treats with me and only use them when needed, otherwise the dog will get bored with them. I also have this special high pitch doggie voice, close to the baby voice.... it gets their attention and sometimes makes them cock their head really cute.

The only prop I have ever used is a basket. It's great for containing them.... and it looks really cute.

Feel free to check out My Animal Album, I have a bunch of pet portraits in there.
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I would also look around and get some other ideas as to what other people have done for monthly shots. A friend of mine posts daily shots on her journal of Pets that Rachael Hale takes. They are really cute... you should check those out too!

Best of luck to you!

Message edited by author 2005-10-12 13:53:40.
10/12/2005 02:02:59 PM · #14
This challenge might help
Pet portrait

See clarmore's profile
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