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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    wud's Avatar

    How to photograph dogs

    How to photograph dogs
    I dont know if anyone are interested, but I read so many of your tips and tutorials, so wanna give something back. And well, I do dogs...


    First, I mail the owner and explains a little about what we'll be doing. Here I tell them, to let me know if their dog needs a break, as they of course nows it better than me. Also I tell them, that the first 5-10 minutes, I'll just be talking to the dog, playing - petting - feeding goodies, what ever the dog likes. This makes a huge difference for the images, as the dog suddenly sees me as a friend, and will most likely offer eye contact to me during the shoot.
    I also ask, what they normally do for fun with the dog, training, playing etc. Last I ask if the dog are afraid of something specific, most are not but sometimes one writes 'other dogs', 'trucks', something. Then I arrange that we meet up somewhere where there would be a small chance meeting this.


    I do have dogs myself, so I know some about their language.
    Stuff I pay close attention to while photographing: calming signals. This can mean the dog is stressed, and if so, I can be pretty sure I will find a lot of stressed out eyes when returning home seeing the images big on the computer. Not a good picture!

    Signals (amongst others) can be:

    yawning/panting if not hot or just been running
    looking away
    showing the white in the eyes
    humping - either me or the owner (clear stress signal)
    sniffing when called in/asked to do something (yes its true! not always of course, see what else the dog signals)
    keeps turning the back on me (friendly signal, maybe I'm being to forward)


    If the dogs continuously do some of the above, I rearrange the shoot. What ever tricks this, I can do later or not at all, doesn't matter, we'll get other images. So if we were throwing a ball, we stop and either just walks for a bit or we feed the dog some goodies, saying its a good dog whenever it acts calm.


    I never force any dogs to anything and I wont see the owner doing it. I can try to lure it into something but if it wont do it, it doesn't matter.


    I feed tons of goodies during a session. I praise the dog for whatever it does, even the things that does not mean anything, lol. Doesn't matter, I just want the dog to think its doing something amazing, this also shows in the pictures.


    Next step. Guessing what the dog will do.

    This is also what I use the first 5-10 minutes to figure out. I am looking at the dog - does it avoid me if I talk to loud, what does it find funny and interesting and so on. Does it move fast, slow, jump etc.
    And then we start walking, to get to the first place where we will be shooting.

    Here I get the owner to do something with the dog - this can be anything he/she knows the dog likes. Mostly playing with a ball or a toy, to get some of the positive stress of being a new and funny place out. It will make the head portraits much easier, if the dog are just a tiny bit tired


    And from here, I just sees what the dog does. I look at it running first time after the ball, after this I prepare to shoot the next time it runs after the ball.


    Last, but not least

    It matters if the dog are trained to do something specific - sitting, laying, standing, tricks and so on. One of my dogs can sit/lay in a position for a long time and I can move away, take the picture, return and give a treat. My other dog can't (he will follow me instantly), so with him I will either have to have a helper giving goodies while I move away, or I will have to use a lens which allows me to be close to him.
    This is the same with other peoples dogs, some prefer the owner close, some dont. I change the lens, according to this. I get the owner to stand, where they wont be in the picture.
    Its all about what the dog are used to.



    Most of the dogs I've been out with can do 1, maybe 1,5 hour of shooting (including walking, pauses etc). But they are TIRED when I leave them.
    Only 1 time (so far) I had a really stressing dog, the shoot took more than 2 hours, as we had to take a lot of breaks just sitting relaxing with it. We had a good time though and the pictures turned out great


    If any question, let me know. I hope someone will get any use out of this!



    Dog a little uncomfortable (left side):





    Dogs having fun, not minding running directly at the camera:






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    Last edited by wud; 11-27-2013 at 04:25 PM.
     
    Nikon D3 - hello great love!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Re: How to photograph dogs

    I love your photos - had a browse of your website earlier (admittedly I had to translate to navigate it!).I will try your tips with my parents dog this weekend and see how I get on. Saying that I am half way there as I lived with him for 8 years so know him very well already!My favourite of yours is the greyhound type dog in what looks like a floodlight. So focused on that ball!!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
    wud's Avatar

    Re: How to photograph dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by southwestsam View Post
    I love your photos - had a browse of your website earlier (admittedly I had to translate to navigate it!).I will try your tips with my parents dog this weekend and see how I get on. Saying that I am half way there as I lived with him for 8 years so know him very well already!My favourite of yours is the greyhound type dog in what looks like a floodlight. So focused on that ball!!
    Thank you so much Thats one of my favorite images too!

    Let me know when you post some shots of your parents dog, I wanna see.
    Nikon D3 - hello great love!
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  4. #4
    Gear Head
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    gqtuazon's Avatar

    Re: How to photograph dogs

    How to photograph dogs
    Thanks for the tips. I struggled taking shots while these dogs were running. I need to practice.

    Italian grayhounds


    gray hounds by gqtuazon, on Flickr
    Thanks/Like Michael Jaeger, wud, wornish, timlad75, Scott Murray Thanks/liked this post
     
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  5. #5
    Senior Member
    wud's Avatar

    Re: How to photograph dogs

    How to photograph dogs
    Quote Originally Posted by gqtuazon View Post
    Thanks for the tips. I struggled taking shots while these dogs were running. I need to practice.

    Italian grayhounds


    gray hounds by gqtuazon, on Flickr

    Aww, beauties. It looks like your shutter were 1/80 in this image, so I can understand why it must have been tough getting them sharp while running. They are so fast!
    But great, great portrait
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  6. #6
    Gear Head
    Moderator
    gqtuazon's Avatar

    Re: How to photograph dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by wud View Post
    Aww, beauties. It looks like your shutter were 1/80 in this image, so I can understand why it must have been tough getting them sharp while running. They are so fast!
    But great, great portrait
    It was late in the afternoon. I was helping my daughter with her school photography club. Their theme was "animals" so I asked my friend if I could shoot their dogs but it was getting dark. I should have just bumped the ISO to increase the shutter speed.
    Thanks/Like wud Thanks/liked this post
     
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  7. #7
    Junior Member

    Re: How to photograph dogs

    Hello Wud,

    I love your post on photographing dogs. I have been doing some photographing of dogs lately and have run into a problem I hope you can help me with. How did you keep your white dogs in your post in focus as they ran towards you. They look like they are in a full run. When I have a dog run towards me they go out of focus real quick. I would love to know your settings and how you accomplished such a focused picture on those dogs.
    Thanks so much for your post!
    Cheryl
    Thanks/Like wud Thanks/liked this post
     

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    wud's Avatar

    Re: How to photograph dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by cherylann View Post
    Hello Wud,

    I love your post on photographing dogs. I have been doing some photographing of dogs lately and have run into a problem I hope you can help me with. How did you keep your white dogs in your post in focus as they ran towards you. They look like they are in a full run. When I have a dog run towards me they go out of focus real quick. I would love to know your settings and how you accomplished such a focused picture on those dogs.
    Thanks so much for your post!
    Cheryl
    Hey! Happy to help. I used the 70-200mm zoom (but any one would do, it's easier with something beyond 70mm). The dogs were pretty far away, so they didn't at all fill out my frame - then we called them (my husband were with me, so he could get their attention) and while they were running, I clicked several shots but kept focusing. At some point they more or less filled the frame and shortly after they were to close for me to focus.

    I think it was ISO 200 or 400, f/4 and then a high shutter time. Preferable over 1/500. But as high as possible!


    Make sure you got your settings before starting to shoot - we got these two guys to do the run twice, then they didn't bother anymore lol.

    Hope we'll get to see your image I'm sure you'll nail it, just try a couple of times.





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  9. #9
    Junior Member

    Re: How to photograph dogs

    I used the same lens you did. I don't think my dog was far enough away. He started out filling the frame. Did you use auto or manual focus? I was shooting at f4 with a 640 Shutter and a 100 ISO, very sunny day. I will start with him farther away next time. Thanks so much for your help. You have been great!
    Thanks/Like wud Thanks/liked this post
     

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    wud's Avatar

    Re: How to photograph dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by cherylann View Post
    I used the same lens you did. I don't think my dog was far enough away. He started out filling the frame. Did you use auto or manual focus? I was shooting at f4 with a 640 Shutter and a 100 ISO, very sunny day. I will start with him farther away next time. Thanks so much for your help. You have been great!
    Ah okay - further away yes, you need a little time to get focus on him. I use auto focus, so when your shutter is pressed halfway, it re-focus.

    Your welcome


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