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Pet Blogs United aims to support our fellow pet bloggers by encouraging members to visit other members and leave comments. It’s a great way to find great blogs & new friends.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Ten Dynamite Tips To Improve Your Dog Photography Guest Post by Susan Ley

After years of photographing animals, and trillions of photographs of our Irish Terriers (ok, trillions is a bit of a stretch), I’ve come up with a list of foolproof suggestions to improve your dog photography.
1.First tip, relax!
Forget about that stock option for a million bucks or the shopping spree to Aruba. This is more important. Take some deep relaxing breaths. Watch your pet and figure out want kind of image you want to capture. Keep focused on the present moment and only that moment.


2. Read your manual.
Before you do anything else, go dig up your manual and study it. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to figure out the best settings as your dog does a triple flip off the diving board.
3. Set the shutter speed to at least 1/250 of a second or faster.
(You know how to do that because you have read your manual. If not, do not pass go…go back. Read your manual.) You want crisp, clean images with no blur. If you are using a point and shoot, no worries. Just put the speed dial on the action icon.
4. Vet the background.
Poor backgrounds ruin more dog portraits than any other factor except incorrect exposure, so check it out and move your pet to another location if the background has a parking lot full of screaming kids, a garbage truck on the move or a ugly fence.
5. Move In Close. 
Move in close to give your viewer a sense of being right there. This will also help to crop out background clutter you can’t eliminate.
6. Always focus on the eyes. 
Get down..get down. Unless your dog is as big as a miniature horse, you need to get down low enough to photograph your pet at eye level. If you are photographing a puppy, get flat on the ground and use your elbows to prop your camera up to your eye.
7. Keep It Simple.
Concentrate on capturing one thing and one thing only. Do you want a photo of the flowers around your dog, or your dog? Decide. It is usually impossible to capture two ideas in one photo.
8. Avoid Harsh Light.
Yikes..it’s noon and it’s too bright to photograph. Really. Bright sun works for scenic images, not pets. Shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the harsh glare of noon day sun. Overcast days when the sun is hidden behind clouds will turn the sky into a giant light box. Perfect for dog photography!
9. Use Props.
To capture dynamite expressions, use props. Try a battery-operated toy, a bright cloth flapping in the wind or a whistle. Be ready! Props only work until your dog gets bored, so you have to work quickly.
10. Know Your Flash Range.
Memorize the flash-to-subject distance range for your flash and stay within the range.

Good shooting! If you want more information on any of these subjects, check out my web site, www.susanleyphotography.com or email questions to sley@ee.net.


Susan has sent me a copy of her book Pet Photography For Fun and once I review it I will have a copy to give away to one PBU reader, so stay tuned!

10 comments:

Mr. Pip said...

Very good advice. Of course, my assistant has NEVER read her manual!

Your pal, Pip

Jessica @ YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner.com said...

I agree with #8 but thought that you can help get around that with a polarizing filter. What do you think?

Finn said...

Those are some really good tips! I guess I would have to find the manual in order to read the manual, but that's another story!

Joules Prescott said...

Thanks for breaking it down for us. We'll pass these tips along to mama. Both our pawrents just got new phones, but we sure don't see them reading any manuals right now.
Your bearded furiends, Joules & Prescott

Misaki said...

My mummy has terrible trouble taking pics of me as I move around so much hehe. She often ends up with freaky ghost like pics BOL. Will tell her to check this out and maybe she'll have more luck in future.

Thanks for sharing!

themisadventuresofmisaki said...

My mummy has terrible trouble taking pics of me as I move around so much hehe. She often ends up with freaky ghost like pics BOL. Will tell her to check this out and maybe she'll have more luck in future.

Thanks for sharing!

Sabrina PugTails said...

Great post. Thank you.

Tamago said...

This info is very useful even for cat photography, too! I will read manual and set the shutter speed!

The Cat From Hell said...

What a great post. Me wonders where the manual is for Mommy's camera...
Kisses
Nellie

To Dog With Love said...

Great post and useful tips! Jessica, I just bought a polarizing filter but haven't used it much yet. I think it helps, but uneven light still seems to be tricky (shadows and sun together).
Diane and Cosmo

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