Dog photographs usually take the internet by storm. As cute as all those images on social media are, it can sometimes be really difficult as a photographer to capture those images because of dogs’ playful and energetic nature. Tony & Chelsea Northrup provide some tips for taking great pictures of puppies, dogs, kittens, cats, or other pets:
Get Them Familiar with the Studio
Once you have your small home studio setup ready, be sure to spend some time getting the dog familiar with the environment. They can get scared or anxious with the location and the lighting so it is essential that they get used to the place.
Make Them Tired
Play with the dog to tire him out a bit. This will not only make him happy, but it will ensure that the dog will hold the pose instead of being too distracted.
Use Treats as Positive Reinforcement
If the dog starts appearing upset and unhappy, Chelsea suggests that you use treats to make them happy. Also, you can reinforce positive actions performed by the dog by giving him treats whenever he does well in front of the camera.
Use Gestures and Sounds
You cannot directly ask a dog to look somewhere like you would do with a human model. Use your own movement and sounds to grab the dog’s attention and make them look where you want. You can even use the treat to guide the attention of the dog toward the camera or light.
Think About the Mood of the Photo
Keep in mind the kind of mood you want to capture in the photograph. In the video, Pixel is a young pup with bright whites and dark black spots. Chelsea accordingly chooses a pink blanket as the background to reflect Pixel’s young playful nature and complement the color.
Experiment with Focal Length
A wider focal length allows you to get closer to the dog, but it will also exaggerate the dog’s features and get more of the background in the frame. A longer focal length will flatten the dog’s features and blur the background. If you want a blurrier background, have the dog stand or sit farther away from the background. This will allow you to have a blurry background while allowing you to use an aperture that keeps their eyes in focus without completely blurring their nose.
Take Them Outside
If you have a bigger dog that feels anxious when inside a studio surrounded by lights, simply take them outside. Play with them, throw them a ball, make them run, and capture the moment by getting low at their eye level. This will allow you to capture the dog’s natural personality.
Freeze the Moment
With the playful nature of the dogs, it can be difficult for the photographer to freeze the moment. If you shoot indoors, the use of flash can help you in capturing a sharp image of your dog. However, if you’re outdoors be sure to use a faster shutter speed to avoid any kind of motion blur caused by the dog’s movement.
Experiment with Angles
You can try various angles to take photos of your dogs. You can get low and take images at the dog’s eye level. If they are small, shoot from above to accentuate their smallness. It will make their head appear bigger and body appear smaller using forced perspective.
Go ahead and try these tips with your dogs or any pets that you may have. If you have any cute pictures of your pets, share them with us in the comments below.
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