I’m thinking about starting a weekly, or maybe monthly, post on taking photos of your dogs for all of you readers who keep wishing in the comments box that you could take great photos of your dogs too. The good news is – you can!
These handy tip posts will not be very technical, because, umm, I am not very technical. But I’ll try to give you some hints about how to improve your rate of success when photographing your dogs.
The photos in this post were all taken with a Canon 30D DSLR, and a 70-200 F/4-5.6 lens. That’s a telephoto lens and there’s your tip #1 – when photographing dogs being active, a telephoto allows you grab the action without dogs being right on top of you. Because when they are being active on top of you, it hurts.
I’m not much of a cropper. I am lazy about cropping photos and prefer to just frame them correctly in the first place. That means I take a LOT of shots. If you do any photography, you know about the rule of thirds. If not, go read it right now.
Don’t try to put your dog smack in the center of the frame all the time. Sometimes the more interesting photos come from letting the dog be somewhere else in the frame. It has the effect of being a little more dramatic.
Speaking of hills … the most common problem people seem to have when it comes to taking dog pictures is that they want to stand up there at their full height of 5 foot whatever and shoot down at the dog. While this can work sometimes:
(this photo was NOT taken with a telephoto, but rather a wide angle lens)
… it tends to make for a boring shot. If you want to see dogs like they really are, and to make the shot more dynamic, you have to get down at their level. But this sucks when the ground is wet. So today, I threw the Kong down a hill and crouched at the top to get shots of them running back up over the crest of the hill.
And while I’m crouching here, I can just swivel my torso to the right and take a head shot of the world’s laziest dog, who is just standing at the top of the hill thinking about how stupid his siblings are for frantically running up and down it.
The other advantages of your handy telephoto lens:
So remember – get down on your dog’s level and try capturing anything other than the straight-on shot! You might be surprised at what comes out of your camera afterward.
Is this kind of thing helpful? Let me know!
ETA: I’m sorry I cannot help those of you who are taking pictures with point and shoot cameras, as I never really use one and I’m not familiar with them. I tend to shoot in aperture-priority mode on my DSLR, at about F/4.5 or 5 and set the ISO depending on the amount of light available. I rarely shoot action in fully manual mode. See? Not very technical ;-)