The first time a potential forever parent sees your foster dog might very well be through a photo on this site. It’s up to you to help your Rocket Dog make a good first impression. By following this advice on taking great photos you’ll help your furry pal to put their best paw forward.
Timing and Location
Time it well. If you’re looking for action shots, have your photo shoot before the daily three-mile run. If you want a serene portrait, make it after. Also, feeding your dog first is always a good idea as it leaves them relaxed.
- Photographing pets takes on a deeper meaning when you can capture their character in a photo. It’s a good idea to photograph pets in their preferred spots or enjoying a much-loved pastime such as snoozing on the porch or catching a Frisbee. To capture a pet’s character, you can ask yourself what is unique about your pet and try to capture that uniqueness on camera.
- Pay attention to background. Simple backgrounds, like a white sandy beach or green trees, make your dog stand out. If you’ve got a point-and-shoot camera, have your dog at least a dozen feet in front of the background so he’ll be more in focus than whatever’s behind him. Pay attention to color, too: don’t shoot a black dog in front of a black background, or a brown dog in front of a brown background, and so on.
- The best locations offer bright, natural light with lots of open shade. A great setting will put large swaths of uncluttered space between you and the dog and between the dog and the background. To keep your canine calm, avoid distractions such as people or other dogs.
- Turn off the flash. Most photographers do best with natural light. To avoid direct sunlight washing out your pictures, shoot in the mornings or evenings, on slightly overcast days, or in the shade on bright days.
- Lying on the ground can make it hard to keep the camera still, so bring along a box or a sturdy book as a support to keep the camera steady. To help reduce camera shake, take a deep breath before you take the shot. A blanket or tarp may help keep you clean while you’re shooting.
When it’s Time for the Shoot
- Let your dog get used to the camera. Let your dog give the camera a good sniff, then start casually shooting the surroundings. Once your dog’s gotten used to the camera and starts doing his own thing, begin taking pictures.
- The idea is to keep things natural and relaxed. Don’t grab a ton of treats and toys, abruptly shove the camera in your dog’s face, and repeat, “Mommy’s gonna take your picture!”.
- Enlist help. An assistant with a toy will come in handy if you want a head-on shot or a regal profile. However, keep your dog’s personality in mind – some dogs get amped up when their toys are around, so it can have the opposite effect of what you intended.
- To use treats effectively, have an assistant tease the pet by concealing the treat in his or her hand, making sure the dog knows it’s there. Have them hold the treat where you’d like the dog to look, the resulting expressions can suggest important interaction, even affection, between human and animal.
Taking the photos
Take lots of pictures. This is the first rule of photography, no matter what the subject. The more you take, the better your chances of getting a few amazing shots.
- Get down on your dog’s level. If you take all of your pictures standing over your dog looking down, all your shots are going to look like everyone else’s. Getting on the floor and at the same level as your pet is a great way to capture some dramatic, yet natural shots.
- For composing an image, try to shoot into your subject’s eyes. Get creative and playful, full-body shots taken from ten feet away are mighty dull. Get close enough that your dog fills the entire frame, or even closer so you get the full effect of that long, wet nose.
- Photograph your dog head on, in profile, and at 45-degree angles. And don’t get hung up on perfection; the best shots are often the spontaneous ones.
- Don’t forget to reward your pup for being a good model!