Hanging out with dogs is rewarding, but photographing them be pose quite a challenge. In this short video from Shutterstock Tutorials, you’ll hear ten helpful tips that will help you to take better photos of dogs, be it your pet or a client’s four-legged friend.
- Use treats to keep their attention: you can add a piece of duct tape onto the camera (or even your phone) and stick a treat onto it. Make sure to let the dog smell the treat before it so it stays focused on it while it’s attached to the camera.
- Keep treats at hand: reward the dog throughout the shoot
- Use props: if a treat doesn’t work, you can also use props to keep the dog’s attention. It can be a ball, a toy or a stick – just place it right below or above or the lens to have the animal look where you want it to.
- Shoot handheld: you want to be close to the action all the time, especially if you shoot outdoors where the dog has lots of space to run around. So, ditch the tripod and shoot handheld.
- Manual settings and high shutter speed: you need to have complete control over the settings, so shoot manual. Also, use the shutter speed of at least 1/500s, because dogs are fast and you want to freeze the action.
- AF-C focus and burst mode: as mentioned above, dogs are fast. So, use continuous AF to keep the dog in focus as he plays and runs around. Using burst mode will make sure you use every moment and get more keepers.
- Use a big continuous light source: depending on your shooting location, this can either be a large modified light indoors or shooting on a cloudy day outdoors. A large light source works best against the dogs’ shiny hair.
- Stay away from strobes: the continuous light source is a better choice because strobes can frighten some dogs. And if you’re photographing a dog for a client, you never know how it will react, so a continuous light can simply be a safer option.
- Use a reflector: in addition to the large light source, also use a reflector to illuminate the underside of the dog, especially if it’s dark-coated.
- Invest in knee pads: you’ll spend a lot of your time on dogs’ level if you photograph them. So, invest in knee pads to protect your knees from getting sore or injured.
Of course, there are plenty more tips you can apply when photographing dogs. Still, these are enough to get you started or to help you improve at your very next shoot. If you’re a dog photographer, feel free to share your tips and experiences in the comments below. And if you happen to be more of a cat person, then check out this article.