I’ve been reading some really cool dog blogs lately, like Dogs Rock, Gardening with Wyatt, Tales and Tails, and Its the Dog’s Life where they always have such superb and beautiful photos with every post. I asked my human why our photos never look quite that nice and she said that it is probably because most of the time she takes the photos with her mobile phone. Mobile phone? Is she joking? I’m trying to run a professional dog blog here and she is not even using a proper camera! *growl*
She quickly added as an excuse that the grey skies of London don’t really help – most of the other dog blogs are based in the US where the skies seem to be a constant blue making all photos look better. I decided I’d heard enough excuses and demanded she dust off her old D-SLR camera and start taking some decent photos. To help her get started, I’ve decided to use my Friday Foto Fun slot to run a series of Dog Photography Tips. I hope some of you doggies out there will find this interesting too.
I will start this week showing some of the most common mistakes in doggie photography. Then, next week I’ll start covering off some tips on how to improve your dog photos.
How Not to Take Dog Photos
I’ve sniffed through our photo library to find some really good examples of bad dog photos. All the pictures are real photos, they have not been staged. They really came off the camera that bad!
1. View point. Most humans simply take their camera and point it down at the dog and snap some shots. What they end up having is a series of ‘aerial shots’ with their dogs looking up into the camera. Why is that bad? Let me explain what the human equivalent would be – imagine a garden party where the photographer took all the photos from the balcony two floors up. Great for an overview shot, but it doesn’t make for great portraits.
The solution involves lots of crouching and crawling! If you want good photos of your dog digging a hole in the lawn, then you’ll have to lie down on the ground next to him and take the photo on his level. The photos will end up looking much more natural and interesting looking!
2. Remove clutter. Dogs always look super cute but there are way too many photos of us with overfull laundry bins, TV sets and children’s toys in the background. If you want to take a good photo of the actual dog, without any distractions, then tidy up or try and find a good neutral background.*waggy tail*
3. Blurred photos. Cameras need light to work. I’m not going to dig into the technical reasons, but most camera phones and pocket cameras don’t deal with low light situations very well and you end up getting blurred photos as a result. The worst combination is a fast dog and a dimly lit room – that is guaranteed to give you super blurred photos. We have hundreds of failed photos like this! *I’m super-fast*
The solution could be to turn on the main lights in the room, or open the shutters to let more light in. Or take the photos outdoors during daylight hours in the sun. Or try and get the dog to sit super still and use a tripod to keep your camera still. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have an SLR camera you could get a faster lens, or change the ISO setting to a higher (faster) number. What about using the flash, I hear you ask? Don’t, and there is a reason for that.
4. Don’t use flash. Unless you’re a professional photographer, using flash for dog photography is only likely to show off big shiny eyes, like in the photo of me at the top of this blog post. i look more like an alien than a dog!
5. Don’t crop that tail! Sure, you can crop your photos in an artistic way, but leave our tails alone. *ouch*
What about your humans? Can they take good dog photos?