How to Photograph Your Dog


My favorite picture of Chloe showing her expressive eyes.

I've written on several occasions that next to writing her stories, I enjoy photographing Chloe. Which brings me to the subject of this entry, how to take pictures of your dog.  You might respond, ...simple, get a camera and start snapping away! Well that wasn't the answer I was thinking of, particularly if you're planning to share those pictures with friends and family. Nobody wants to see a bunch of dog images that all look the same. You know what I mean, your dog occupies the same spot in every shot and the picture is always taken from the same height, same distance, etc., etc. In short there's no creativity. 

I follow three short rules.

Rule 1 | It Takes Patience

Patience helped to capture Chloe in her hunting stance.
One of the first things I found out is that good picture taking takes patience. It's not simply a matter of pressing down on the camera's shutter, especially since dogs like children have no intent on sitting for their portrait. As a matter of fact, my favorite pictures of Chloe have always come when she’s tired out after a long day of activities. At that point she doesn't rush out of the picture frame and it gives me a few more seconds to compose the image. I should also note, she doesn't always like the camera pointing at her, but she tolerates it much better when she's tuckered out.

Rule 2 | Get Down to Their Level

I laid down on the grass to get Chloe at her eye level.
The second piece of advice that I have is to get down to the level of your dog. That's right get down on the floor if your dog is small, or prop yourself on one knee if the dog is taller. This sets up the image based upon the dog's perspective. Dogs view the world from their height, not from ours. Once you realize this, taking pictures from their point of view can be quite interesting and creative.

Rule 3 | Take Plenty of Pictures 

A throw away shot with Chloe only partially in the image.
And last, the key to real photography success is to take as many pictures as you can. I've toss more photographs than I care to remember. Holding the leash with one hand and the camera in the other has resulted in quite a few images of the grass, the dirt, the street, the sidewalk, and my favorite, half a Chloe, ...that's right she's half in, or half out depending upon which direction she was last headed the moment I snapped the shutter. By taking a multitude of pictures, I've been able to capture those sly Chloe glances, such as the opening picture of this entry, that she gives me.

...Note, that these three simple rules also work if you're taking pictures of young children.

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