Our puppers are not here nearly long enough, but photos help them continue to bring smiles to our faces. I am going to give you a couple of tips to help you get some keeper shots of your canine buddy. Remember...the best camera is the one you have with you. For most of us, that is our phone all the time! Here are some things you can do to get some great cell phone shots of Fido!
Number One-Get low! The best perspective is usually the lowest. You can accomplish this a couple of different ways. You can get down on the ground or the floor at your dog's level, or...depending on the location, you can sometimes bring your dog up! Get creative and look around. Always keeping the safety of you and your pooch in mind, consider things that you can put your dog up on. Rocks, steps, low concrete or rock walls, logs, chairs, stools. Even hills can help get your perspective a bit lower.
Number Two-Capture your dog's unique personality. Your dog is special and unlike anyone else's dog. Rather than trying to make your dog pose or act like something it isn't, work with that personality and capture that. If you have a heavily coated breed that LOVES the snow, keep that in mind and get out in cooler temps and snow. Does your dog love the water? If you do not live near a pet friendly water spot, what about a kiddie pool or sprinkler? Is your Fido a dog about town? Urban settings can be super great backgrounds and offer up benches and steps as well as other things to raise up your Cosmopolitan Hound! Got a lounger or couch potato? Snap shots of those cuddly looking peaceful moments of sleep or with one eye looking at you or curled up in a tight little ball.
Number Three-There is no shame in bribery! Use what your dog loves the most to your advantage. If your dog is ball or toy motivated, have that item in your hand and move it around the lens of your camera/phone. Hold it away to get your dog to look off into the distance. Toss it in the air to get ears perked and that intensity in the eyes. Food motivated? This is great for getting some connection shots of your hand and your dog's face or even just his or her muzzle. Food and treats can be used the same way as the toys, too. Be aware that you do need to let the dog have a win every couple of shots with this, though...you do not want to tease your dog endlessly, so bait them for a couple of shots and then reward them by throwing the toy or giving the treat.
Number Four-Let the light shine...sort of! Light is probably the single most important thing for photographers and it truly can make a difference for so many reasons. You may have heard about the Golden Hour and that perfect light. Certainly, that light is beautiful and soft and often preferred, but things don't always come together during those dawn and dusk hours. Does that mean you cannot get beautiful images of your dog? Certainly not! Cloudy or overcast days are often photo friendly, even if that is counter intuitive. The clouds act as a huge soft box and soften light, even at high noon. So do not let that overcast day keep you from getting out and getting images of your dogger. What if it is super bright out? Look for some open shade...the shade of a tree or even a building...maybe even a large sign. The key to this is having your dog's eyes looking toward some open sky so that there is light reflection in them. Lack of light is what makes the eyes look like just dark, black pools or holes. That reflection of light brings life to the eyes and makes a huge difference. Your dog does not need to be sitting in bright light in order to have his or her eyes reflect natural light, but they do need to have them facing the direction of the light. Having the light behind you makes that task much easier.
Number Five-Details, details, details. Our instinct can often be to capture photos of our dog's whole face or whole body...but sometimes those detail shots can tell a story of their own. Does your dog often have it's paws crossed while laying down? Zoom in close to get a photo of just those crossed paws. Does your dog have a unique tail? Does it curl or have a kink or a distinct color pattern? What about your dog's snoot? Do you boop the snoot every chance you get? Take that photo of that boopable snooter! Close ups of eyes or just one eye. Zoomed in super close on color patterns or even just the texture of their hair. Those ears...whether they stand up or flop over or go back and forth between the two options...they can show your pup's personality on their own. The fun thing with all of these detail ideas? You can change perspective and get something totally different, but still the same. Photograph that nose straight on, then from the side, maybe another from above and aiming straight down. Just for fun...maybe put that camera UNDER that snoot and photograph UP! There are all kinds of other tips and tricks. This list is hardly a complete and comprehensive one, but hopefully it gives you just a few things to think of and work on and get some fun and memorable images of your dog on your own.
Did this list help you at all? Did it give you some different ideas to create your own unique images? I'd love to hear about it and see what you created!