Us dog lovers take a lot of photos of our four-legged friends. But to take an awesome shot can be very difficult. We always give our best, but sometimes our dog just won't stop moving, then the light doesn't fit or something else ruins the picture. But don't worry, it is not that hard to take a good photo of your dog. We have a few simple tips for which you don't need expensive equipment or software.
Use the natural daylight outside or lure your dog close to the window. Avoid flashlight if possible, because your dog will be irritated and it creates harsh lighting as well as unsightly reflections in your dogs eyes. Strong sunlight should be avoided as well. It creates shadows and over- or underexposed areas in your photo. Photos in the shadow on bright cloudless days are perfect, as well as at sunrises and sunsets. If you don't take pictures with a high-quality camera, we recommend you to position yourself so that the light source (e.g. the sun or the window) comes from the side or from behind you.
Since dogs are smaller than us, we usually take photos from above. If you do it purposefully, great photos can be taken, but there are more options than this for sure. If you get down on your knees or lie down on the ground, you see the world from the dog's perspective and you will experience it in a whole new way. But don't be afraid to be creative and try to take pictures from different angles. One more little tip: hold your breath at the moment of release. This keeps the camera still and prevents camera shake. It also helps to rest your elbows on something, such as a table or a fence.
For a great photo you also have to pay attention to the background. Keep it simple. A messy household to many people on the streets can distract from your four-legged friend. Simple backgrounds such as a light-colored sandy beach, green trees, or a monochrome wall will make your dog stand out.
4. Make your dog aware of you
Once your dog is in a good position, you can get him to look at you by calling out his name, showing him a treat, or holding up a toy. Ideally you will have a second person to help you. Use a cheerful voice to make your dog look happy and curious.
5. Camera settings
If you are using an SLR camera, make sure you select a shutter speed of at least 1/160s to prevent camera shake. A shallow depth can be achieved with the widest possible aperture (> f/4). A long focal length is recommended for motion pictures. With a zoom lens, for example 70-200, it is easier to catch a running dog in full-frame. Turn on the continuous shooting mode and just keep taking pictures. Also keep the sun at your back.
Keep your smartphone ready whenever you plan to take some nice pictures of your dog. If it's buried deep in your pocket or backpack, you'll miss some great shots. Also, make sure you get a good lightning. With a professional camera it is easier to correct different lighting conditions, but a smartphone camera usually doesn't offer the same control. The best time of day to take pictures with a smartphone in the morning and late afternoon. During this time the sunlight is very soft.
7. Photo editing
Whether with a cell phone or a computer, photo editing can make photos look way more professional. By editing brightness, contrast, highlights, and color, you can correct false lighting and highlight areas of interest. A suitable filter can also add charm to a photo. Apps/programs such as VSCO, Lightroom, Capture One, Facetune, etc. are perfect for this, but the smartphone's own editing tools can also make a big difference.
Here is a before and after example of our William Walker Ambassador Syke:
If your dog obeys many commands, don't forget to reward him with a treat. This helps the dog understand that photo sessions are worthwhile for him and that he is doing the right thing. With this in mind, the William Walker Team wishes you lots of fun with your dog and a successful photoshoot!