Sunday, 1 February 2015

Photographing four legged friends

I've no idea why, but over the last year I've become a bit of a specialist at photographing dogs. Yes, I love dogs, and yes I love my camera, but pets are not the easiest to work with. If you struggle capturing the spirit of your pet, here are some of my tried and tested strategies. 


Get down on their level - The level of the camera can make the difference between an amateur and professional looking photograph. Pictures of pets from above are pretty boring when you could be seeing the action from dog or cat level. Use a small tripod or a pile of books to stand your camera down low in your pet's world.

Gracie in the grass

Zoom lens - For a camera shy pet it's great to use a zoom lens. Gracie was way more comfortable when she thought no-one was watching. Though it's a close up - this picture was actually taken from the far side of the garden.

Or be prepared to crop - if you can't zoom right in on the subject, keep snapping anyway and be prepared to crop that photo down later on to remove distractions.

Use treats and toys - One of my favourite techniques to get the owner in the picture is to get the face licking shot. For dogs, a dollop of peanut butter on the nose works great. Or perhaps your four legged friend just needs a little encouragement to engage with you while you have a camera in hand. Take out a favourite toy to see their faces light up.

Lily and Bella run

Use a quick shutter speed - With Bella and Lily I always need to get that shutter closing super quick. They love to run around together and the shots where their feet are off the ground are the best. It's much easier to up my shutter speed than slow my dogs down. If you can't adjust shutter speed on your camera, look for a sport mode - that should work well too. 

Tula in the bath

Capture the every day - Tula in the bath is one of my favourite pictures. I loved capturing her routine on camera when she holidayed with us last year. Have you thought about photographing your pet asleep, being washed or with her favourite chew toy? 

Lily snoozing

Keep a camera handy - Pets are unpredictable and you never know when the perfect shot will present itself. When it does, use whatever camera is handy, even if it's on your phone. A low resolution phone photo is much better than missing the moment because you were running to find the DSLR. 

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