Like most dog owners, I’m always taking pictures of my three – Frank, Rachel and Norman. The pictures, however nice, don’t always capture just how cute these little guys are. Turns out, there is a bit more to that great shot than just luck at having the camera shooting at precisely the right moment. From professional animal photographers come the following tips:
Dallas-based photographer, Teresa Berg offers these five easy tips for taking portrait type photos that you’ll want to frame and hang all over your house (not to mention wallet-size to give away to friends)!
1: Lighting – You’ll want the light to fall directly on your dog’s face.
2: Background – Declutter is key to the background area. Keep the focus on your dog, not the kitchen table stacked with plates and empty pizza boxes or the couch strewn with pillows.
3: Eye level – Get down to your dog’s eye level. Don’t just bend over a few inches and expect the dog to look up into the camera…he isn’t always going to do that.
4: Posture – Berg likes good posture with ears up. She makes it a point to have the dog she is photographing sitting with their ears up.
5: Eye contact – Berg also wants to make sure the dog is making eye contact with the camera.
For the more ‘natural’ look, here’s a few more tips from the pros.
1: The treat trick – Give your pup a few small treats to get him comfortable and happy. After he knows you have the treats and you are giving them out, keep them in your hand and near your camera while you start to photograph. Another trick – tape a treat to the top of your camera – your dog’s eyes will always be towards the lens!
2: Challenges your dog can’t resist – What can your dog NOT resist? The open bag of dog food that happens to be sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor? Chasing leaves blowing in the wind? Jumping five feet over a tiny puddle of water after a rainstorm? Tailoring it to your own dog’s quirks, you can get some really funny action shots!
3: Simple backgrounds, colorful blankets and toys – Keep the background simple – a blank wall, light background or blanket with your pup in front centers all the attention on him. A colorful rug, blanket or a toy are also perfect ways to brighten up a photo while keeping your dog at the center of attention.
4: Make your dog smile! – Here’s a trick the pros say works like a charm! Take your subject for a quick walk around the backyard/block/living room or throw a toy around to get him active. Bring him back to the spot you want to photograph. He’ll be panting and looking up with a big, cute, tongue-hanging grin! Point and click!
And now for a few things the pros say NOT to do when taking your dog’s picture.
Don’t do a non-stop dog photo session. Give them a break…let them have fun and play for awhile.
Don’t make them do things you know they’ll hate (like: clothes, go places they don’t like).
Don’t think you need a fancy camera. Point and click!
Don’t restrict yourself. Experiment and, have fun!
Don’t suddenly throw a camera in your puppy’s face. Let them get used to the camera.
I’ll still be taking lots of pictures of Frank, Rachel and Norman doing every conceivable thing they do! But, I am going to try some of these hints to see if I can get that perfect “too-adorable!” shot. All I can say is – thank goodness for digital cameras!