Some studies have shown that dog owners post photos or mention their pet on average six times a week on their different social media platforms. Not that we needed these stats to realize that we are all a bit dog-crazy. Are you one of those owners who have ten, twenty, fifty (or more) pictures of your pooch on your camera roll? We totally get it! But if you are going to be spending that much time snapping photographs of your animal, why not become really good at it? No need to be a pro or run out and buy top-notch equipment to take great pics. A few simple and basic techniques can help you improve your skills quickly.
See the Light
Light is an important aspect of photography, it can make an ordinary portrait extraordinary. Avoid taking pictures outdoors when the sun is at its peak. The ideal weather for a photo shoot would be slightly overcast. If the sun is strong and you still want to take your pics, just make sure you find a spot where there is at least a bit of shade. If you are snapping images of your dog indoors during the day, try a setting that is close to a window and use that softer effect to create the perfect image. Even though natural light often ends up giving the best results, you can still snap some good quality photographs inside at night. Number one rule: avoid using a flash indoors at all costs. We have all seen spooky snapshots of dogs with green or red alien-like eyes. Unless you’re shooting for Halloween, that’s probably not what you are aiming for. Try different artificial light sources such as table lamps to get the perfect ambiance without that blinding flash.
Know Your Dog’s Personality
Your dog is a couch potato? Pictures of him taking a nap will probably turn out fantastic! He’s as energetic as the energizer bunny? Take the photo shoot outside and have him run around or play fetch while you capture his dynamic side. You have a real goofball of a furry friend? Keep your camera or phone close by and be ready to roll to create an instant record of his mischiefs or hilarious expressions. Knowing your dog’s personality well will make it easier to snap pictures that show what he is all about! Plus, your photo sessions, whether they are planned or improvised, will probably be a lot more productive and enjoyable. A dog who loves to snooze all day long might not be very cooperative when it comes to starring in action photos that involve catching a frisbee in mid-air. On the other hand, your hyperactive Jack Russell probably isn’t the best model for portraits where standing still is a must. You know what your pup’s best assets are, use them wisely!
Be a Paparazzi
You don’t have to follow Max around all day long with your camera, but when you do snap a photo, don’t limit yourself to one snapshot. Whether your picture is staged or spontaneous, the golden rule is always the same: take many shots, from different angles, and try to keep your phone or camera as still as possible. Continuous shooting, or burst mode on your phone, will give you many images to choose from. You are much more likely to find THE perfect photo afterwards. This technique is also often the best one to capture your pet’s funny faces. So go for it, snap some pics!
See the World From His Eyes
Pictures taken from any angle are OK, but nothing beats photos taken at eye-level. An image speaks a thousand words, especially when you can capture an expression or emotion through your dog’s big brown eyes. Get down and look at the world from his level. Move closer. See what he sees. To get his attention for the perfect photo, call his name softly or offer him some healthy treats as a reward for his cooperative behaviour.
The Final Touch
After practising for a while, you will be proud of your progress and will probably want to showcase the results on social media for your family, friends … or the world to see. Before publishing your pictures, a few touch ups can make a world of difference. Many apps are available out there. VSCO, Photoshop Express or Snapseed for example, allow you to adjust light, colour and contrast. If you are not quite ready for this, use the filters of presets available on these apps. Have fun, explore the possibilities! Soon you will be able to take unique pictures!