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Any advice on pet photography? (Dog, springer spaniel)

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    SEMANON  195 forum posts United Kingdom
    17 Jul 2012 - 7:26 PM

    I enjoy taking shots of my pet springer spaniel & am always trying to catch his unique nature - playful,silly,scruffy,daft etc any tips on pet photography in general appreciated.I have been using a Nikon D3100 + Nikkor 40mm f2.8 a lot with him & starting to use manual + RAW modes a lot more. Also been trying to get him to sit in different parts of the house where the light comes through glass in doors.

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    StrayCat  1014207 forum posts Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
    17 Jul 2012 - 7:37 PM

    I think karenfb has some great dog shots in her portfolio you might want to view.

    17 Jul 2012 - 7:39 PM

    Also have look at the website of Nick Ridley.

    SEMANON  195 forum posts United Kingdom
    17 Jul 2012 - 8:09 PM

    Quote: I think karenfb has some great dog shots in her portfolio you might want to view.

    Sorry - where can I see exactly?

    KarenFB Junior Gallery Team 84168 forum postsKarenFB vcard England160 Constructive Critique Points
    17 Jul 2012 - 8:22 PM

    Hi - I've got a few cat shots! Wink

    Mostly taken 'pot-luck' style! Grin

    StrayCat  1014207 forum posts Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
    17 Jul 2012 - 8:25 PM

    Sorry, I thought it was you who had the dog shots Karen. Maybe it's one of the Kathys.Smile

    puertouk  21012 forum posts United Kingdom17 Constructive Critique Points
    17 Jul 2012 - 11:26 PM

    You've heard the saying: Don't work with animals or kids!

    18 Jul 2012 - 11:12 AM

    If its anything like my dog then a fast shutter speed required, especially to capture the wagging tail. I'd use jpeg only to get as many fps as possible and from there it is pot luck and practice I reckon. Unless its much better trained than mine, which will not sit still and pose as when you put a lens in front of her she runs up and licks it.

    mikehit e2 Member 45766 forum postsmikehit vcard United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
    18 Jul 2012 - 11:25 AM

    Quote: you put a lens in front of her she runs up and licks it.

    I know that problem. I must try a really wide angle and hit the shuter just as his tongue comes out

    SEMANON  195 forum posts United Kingdom
    18 Jul 2012 - 12:44 PM

    I was looking through the lens with my one eye shut & he tried to stick his tounge in my mouthTongue - my face would have been a good shot then! Put simply not that well trained no - keeps cowaring on his back every time I get the camera out.I'm just trying the pot luck method so far, armed with a few dog treats.Got some o.k shots - I'll guess I'll see how it goes.I might try using jpeg and firing off as many as possible when he's doing something interesting.

    Deanooo  1 Wales
    18 Jul 2012 - 2:04 PM

    sedate it, that way you can make it pose exactly how you want it to, except for standing on its front legs, thats tricky.... especially without support

    MattK e2 Member 262 forum postsMattK vcard United Kingdom
    19 Jul 2012 - 11:10 AM


    With pet photography patience is an important consideration! Like people portraiture some of the best pet photographs are candid ones where you catch them "in the moment" playing with a toy etc. Get down to their level as a lot of great pet photo's are shot this way. Play around with composition too.

    Try to make the background of your shot uncluttered (no random bags, coats, and unnecessary distractions from the focal point of your image).

    A tip I found useful is to make unusual noises to attract their attention and get the "head tilt" and the eyes looking at you. You won't have long to snap the shot so make sure you have your settings ready. You can look and sound a bit crazy but it does work! Also use someone else to help you get the dog to look in a certain direction by holding their favourite toy so they are focussed and you can then snap away.

    I recommend you have you camera shutter speed set at 250 or above to ensure no blurred paws or tails and play around with depth of field as like any other portrait the eyes are really key. If they are out of focus and not sharp then it kind of ruins the image (unless something else is the key focus like a toy).

    Pet photography is difficult but very rewarding and you can quickly get some fantastic shots - but like all photography it requires pre planning and thought into the types of shots you want to get.

    Focus on the dogs personality - is he/she lazy?are they playful? try to capture the animal as you or the owner know them. If they aren't a playful dog then trying to force them to play with a toy and get a great shot won't work as the dog will look agitated.

    Also - if you want to photograph a playful dog try to shoot them when they are at their most playful - during/shortly after a walk. They will be running around and interested in their environment and you can capture some really nice natural photo's - in long grass or looking for a ball etc.

    All animals are different and have their own personalities so you will get different results and shots with each one but those are some of my tips anyway!

    Matt Smile

    Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
    SEMANON  195 forum posts United Kingdom
    22 Aug 2012 - 4:48 PM

    Thanks for that. Some great tips!Wink

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