PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR DOG

Long spring and summer days with bright sunshine and vivid colors provide the ideal setting for taking photographs of your canine best friend. With some preparation, attention to detail and a measure of patience, you should be able to achieve pictures which can be cherished for years to come.

Be prepared

Ensure that you are well prepared, putting together your camera and equipment before you leave. Give thought to any props you intend to use during the shoot as well as treats and toys to keep your dog occupied and his attention suitably focused. Make sure that your dog is well groomed before you leave the house. When choosing a suitable location, pick somewhere quiet with no obvious distractions. You want to have your dog focusing his attention on you, rather than on something else.

Also take care to pick a location which is not in direct sunlight, since you do not want your dog to be squinting or to become too hot whilst you click your camera, nor for him to be distracted by moving shadows and light.

Be safe
 
Safety must always be a primary concern. If you intend to capture some pictures with your dog off his leash, make sure that your chosen location is safe. If at all possible, have a friend or family member come along to assist you where necessary. A second pair of hands is always helpful, as is a second pair of eyes to give opinions.
If you do not feel able to shoot your photographs comfortably with your dog off his leash, then give consideration as to how you can hide the leash in the shot. For example, have your dog sit on a park bench and then attach the leash to the back of the bench behind your dog, so that it is hidden. The whole point of the exercise is to capture the ideal photograph, something which you will not be able to do if your dog feels the need to run off at the first sign of something exciting.
Be Patient
With the introduction of digital cameras you may not feel the need to limit the number of shots which you take. So feel free to click away from a number of angles and at different levels. Be sure to take a good portion of shots by getting down to your dogs level, since this generally produces a picture showing his personality.
Make sure that you have a supply of treats on hand so that you can reward your dogs good behavior. Additionally, using a squeak toy will help to have your dog look towards you, into the camera or off in a certain direction. Bringing a friend along to assist in administering treats and squeaking on cue will make your task as photographer much easier. Unusual noises will often produce a lovely expression on your dogs face. He will likely cock his head to one side when he hears you making silly loud noises which he does not usually hear from you.
Do not expect to achieve an award winning shot within the first few minutes of your session. Rather than rushing each shot, take your time and exercise patience. For best results your dog needs to be comfortable and entertained. He will enjoy being the centre of attention whilst he receives treats and your ongoing praise of his good behavior. If you are having fun together with your dog, you will no doubt achieve pictures which you can both be proud of.

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