We all have lots of pictures on our phone and sometimes take pictures with a traditional camera. But, even with tons of images I have so many tell me that they just can't get good pictures of their dog.
I'm going to give you a few tips (that are quite simple really) that can improve the look of your images.
1. Turn off your flash.
Whether on a phone or using a camera, your flash will all too often give your dog alien eyes.
2. Make sure there is plenty of natural light.
If you try to photograph a dog in the middle of a bright sunny day they will almost always be half really, really bright and half really, really dark. This might not bother you too much, but sometimes it can ruin a good shot. The best time of day is early morning or an hour or so before sunset when the sun is lower in the sky. It's softer light, shadows aren't so harsh, and you won't have to worry as much about them squinting. Overcast days are actually really great for photographing dogs, especially black dogs. The light is very soft and there will be little to no shadows hiding your dogs beautiful features.
This first image was taken on a bright, sunny day. It's a nice enough image, but the shadows on the ground are very dark, there are lots of distracting bright spots in the background, there are bright spots in the fur on her face, and the colors and texture of her tutu are quite washed out.
This next image was taken on an overcast day. This little girl is evenly lit showing the true colors in her fur, you can distinguish people in the background, and there's lots of texture in her tutu.
3. Get down on their level!
This is the most important tip I can give you when it comes to animals (and toddlers, too for that matter). Your pictures will show them in the center of their world and you will love the results.
To do this you need to be physically on their level, eye to eye. For a big dog that means you need to squat down low. If you have a small dog, you're most likely going to have to get down on your belly.
If getting down on the ground is not physically an option for you don't worry, you'll still be able to achieve great eye to eye images. You can photograph them while they're elevated in some way. If your dog is on the couch, you can sit across from them and simply lean down to their level. If you're outside, you can photograph them sitting on a porch while you're on the ground or lower steps. As long as you're lower than they are, that's all that matters.
As with anything, practice makes perfect, or at least when you take lots of pictures you're bound to end up with a few winners. ;O)
"There's no way my dog would ever sit still for photos...."
This is the number one thing I hear from people who inquire about a pet session.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. My dogs NEVER behave when I try to get photos of them. Part of the reason is because they're our dogs. Just like kids they usually know where our buttons are, and therefore feel the need to push them.
Here's another secret....
The majority of the dogs on my site are photographed with their owner at the other end of a leash. (Yep, the cat's out of the bag.) When it comes to your dog I believe in safety first. Most of the time leaving them on a leash is a no-brainer and best for all involved. No worries though, this photographer doesn't pay big bucks for photoshop just to have it sit there taking up space on her computer. When you see your final images, the leashes will have magically disappeared, and you too will amaze your friends with your dog's modeling abilities!
During sessions we don't always have the perfect weather or the perfect lighting so images need to be tweaked for color and brightness along with leash removals.
Sometimes there are other things in the image that need to come out as well just so things aren't so cluttered.
Then there are events. Event photos are so fast paced that sometimes the one shot of all 3 dogs looking in the same direction happens when mom and dad aren't quite ready.
I've never been a fan of using photoshop to alter reality. But, it's perfect for getting rid of leashes, eye boogers, doggy drool, and making those private parts a little more private when needed.
If you hadn't seen the original images, you might have said, "My dog would never sit still for pictures." Now you know... every dog can be a supermodel. ;O)
This is a post for the 52 Weeks blog circle of pet photographers. If you'd like to see more "before and afters," start with Pawtraits by Nicole serving Las Vegas, NV, and surrounding areas and click your way around the circle.
Isolation is a word we hear all day every day right now. But, as hard as it is on people, isolation is what makes my heart sing when I look through the camera.
Isolation is used in photography in a lot of different ways to bring attention to the subject of the image. The most common way to isolate is to create a very soft background behind the main subject of the image.
I love the look and it's perfect for portraits. But, during sessions I like to use a different technique for the majority of the shoot. I like to isolate the dog to tell the story from their own point of view.
For example, I would describe this first image as a lovely portrait of a "family and their dog."
But, I would describe this second image as a fun loving "dog and his family." This is what I love capturing during each session. The relationship between you and your dog as seen from their perspective.
During local events where there are lots of participants, I love being able to see things that others might miss. I'm able to photograph things in a crowd that happen so quickly that I always feel privileged to have seen them at all much less captured them.
This image is from 2018 at the last end of the season dog swim that I went to. There were so many participants that it was almost impossible to keep track of anyone much less photograph a dog through all the legs in the pool. Isolating this boy and his dog from the crowd shows how they might as well have been the only two in the pool. And, judging from the joy on their faces, they probably felt like they were.
This man was talking to a friend when I noticed his little pup in the middle of all the big dogs running around. Poor little guy doesn't exactly have the best poker face.
Although we may feel isolated (or a bit like this little pup) on and off during these uncertain times of crisis, keep in mind that it's only temporary. I wish you all lots of love, lots of snuggles with your dogs, and lots of snacks and netflix when you need them. ;O)
This is part of a blog circle so if you'd like to see how other photographers in the group isolate, start with Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex.
Our world has gotten a little dull over the past month, but as Spring starts pushing up from the ground and shining overhead we'll all start seeing some color and I think it's going to help tremendously.
Our blog circle theme this week is color so I'm adding lots of it to this post. ;O)
During these days of trying to find a new normal, I suggest working with color. Be it painting a picture, painting a room, making a quilt (did I tell you I'm going to be a grandma?!!!) or adding a vase of flowers that you can see from your favorite chair, we need to add a little color to our lives. Jim Carey found during a time of heartache that color was what he needed. He started painting and never looked back. (Here's a 6-minute video I found interesting that he created about his obsession with painting.)
Moving so much with the military, I quickly learned that the fasted way to feel happy and at "home" was to paint the walls of our new place. Even if I had to paint them back to white when I left, I always made the walls that surrounded my family colorful, and sometimes even painting just one wall in a room would do the trick.
If you think you might want to brighten a room with more than just flowers, think of the colors that make you smile. My favorite color has always been lime green, (affectionately called Kermit green). If you're attracted to bright colors like I am that don't exactly lend themself to the walls of an entire room, then just get some fun bright couch pillows and a colorful lamp, or maybe some art for the wall, or even a rug or chair. It will change the whole look of your room and you'll enjoy spending time there. The idea is that you feel happy when you're in it. If it's a color you love, then I know you will.
So, what's your favorite color? A study a few years ago showed that the world's favorite color collectively is blue. What color is least liked? Men say pink and women say orange or brown.... #funfacts. ;O)
It's said that certain colors mean certain things and there is truth behind certain moods that are created by specific colors. However, I also believe (and I've seen this in in articles, too - although I can't for the life of me find one now), that colors bring up memories. If you see the colors of your favorite sports team, you might feel excited or ambitious. If you were big into Barbies as a kid, you might feel happy and secure when you see the color pink.
So, although the psychology of color can be fun to read about, I say go with what makes you feel good rather than what the charts say. Do something with the color that makes you feel happiest! Start a colorful project of some sort and have fun with it! (I'm off to look for a bright cheery jigsaw puzzle on-line!) ;O)
With this being a blog circle post, take a look at what other pet photographers have to say about color in their lives starting with Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper Photography.
White space in photography is better know as "negative space" and that's the topic of this week's blog circle. An image with negative space is one created with lots of space around the subject so it's isolated.
Negative space doesn't have to be white (and usually isn't), but it will always be "empty space" with no distractions around the subject, and the subject doesn't usually take up a lot of the image.
Negative space doesn't have to be solid either. As long as there is no distraction from the subject it's fulfilled it's purpose.
The Pawsitivity fundraiser session images would be classified as having negative space. Here's an out-take from one of the sessions. (You can't help but smile, can you?!) :O)
If you'd like to take a trip around the blog circle and see what others have to say about negative space in photography, start with Kaylee Doyle Photography, serving the greater Sacramento area.
Have a great weekend!
This week's theme for the 52 Weeks Blog Circle is "rule of thirds." Photographers all know this phrase and know that it's a rule that they're suppose to follow when creating an image. Basically, if you divide your image into thirds, your subject should fall on one of the two dividing lines. Well, although an image might turn out this way, I might be considered a rule breaker. I photograph stories I want to tell and the composition is whatever tells that story best or whatever is most pleasing to me.
Some of you may know I work with Dogs On Deployment, an organization that helps military pet owners find boarders willing to watch their pets while they're deployed or on assignment. We recently had a contest for Military Pet Of the Year and not only did I learn about so many prize worthy pets, but I also learned about some wonderful businesses who donated products to our winners.
One of these businesses is Bowser Beer . They donated custom label bottles of dog brew to our top 3 dogs and sent me a sample as well. I'm so impressed with this company and their products. They even have pretzels to go with the beer, "cigar" treats, and gift sets for that hard to buy for canine friend. (You should check them out.)
I took some product pictures, and paid special attention to placement.
First, I wanted the focus to be on the labels so I zoomed in and took this picture showcasing our top 3 dogs from the competition. (They even gave them their own brew names!)
There are 3 bottles here, but this does not show the rules of thirds. This image is centered.
Then, I took a picture of the bottles along with Hermes' bowl and some treats just to make sure the viewer knows that Bowser Beer is for dogs (because even though it says "non-alcoholic treat for dogs," right on the label, well..... you know). ;O)
Even though this image is centered, the bottles are what people will notice first. Partly because they are the most colorful, and partly because since we read from left to right, our eyes tend to scan pictures from left to right seeing the bottles first. However, this does demonstrate the rule of thirds with that 2nd bottle being very close to one of the rule's dividing lines.
Lastly, I wanted to get a picture with Hermes included (because he's a dog and all). This is where I purposefully chose to incorporate the "rule of thirds" for my image. I put the bottles over on the dividing line and placed Hermes in back a little out of focus so that he would be an element that tells more of the story rather than a distraction from the Bowser Beer bottles. (He looks a little jealous of the other dogs' labels.) ;O)
In my opinion, rules in art are made for learning. Once you know why the rule is there, it's up to you if you want to follow it or not. (I sound like such a rebel!)
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
I've started an ongoing project that I've been wanting to put into action for years. Why didn't I do it sooner? Looking back, I think it was the scary details. Aside from photographing dogs, everything about this project would have been brand new to me.
I have been hard at work for several months now planning all the details (the fun creative ones and the not so fun business ones) and Pawsitivity fundraising sessions are now a reality!
These sessions will happen once or twice a year and the goal is to raise money for charities. They'll each have a theme and the sessions will be short and sweet. They'll be a little different from my normal sessions as we'll be photographing inside and the images will have a minimalistic feel.
The first of the Pawsitivity sessions is called World At Your Feet and will take place in March. I'm so excited about this session! The images will focus on your dog and a bit of your own personality, too... your shoes! We'll be raising money to buy new shoes for the kids of Children's Inn and those supported by Mission Haiti.
If you'd like to know more about the fundraiser sessions you'll find all the details here!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Spring is right around the corner! ;O)
This post is part of the 52 weeks blog circle so take a look at what other's have to say about "details" starting with Jackie Petersen Pet Photography, serving pet lovers in Northern Utah.
It's no secret I love my job. I feel like I get insider access to what makes dogs tick just by hanging out with them. I dare anyone to go to a place where there are dogs interacting and not leave feeling less stressed and slightly sore from smiling.
You dog devotees make it all happen. You love your dogs and they love you. Even just hanging out on the couch feels good enough to be dubbed "mushy."
Here are some images that speak to us about love...and other mushy stuff.
Senior dogs are pure love in my book.
Introducing the newest little sister gets all kinds of awwwwws.
I dare you to look at this next one and not smile. ;O)
And, oh my goodness kids and dogs can melt your heart!
Pictures should make you feel, and when it's love that's shining through you know you've got a good one.
Last but not least here's one more picture that spells L.O.V.E. to me. (I can't really do a post about love without including my own pups now can I.)
Happy Valentine's day! ❤️🐾
This is a Project 52 blog circle post, so follow the links to see more love from other pet photographers around the world. Start with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper Photography
For those of you who've travelled down that bumpy road of hiring a photographer for your wedding, you'll know that I'm right (hopefully not in hindsight) when I say, there are so many shades of gray when looking for the right photographer.
Whether you're looking for a photographer for your wedding, a new baby, senior portraits, or boudoir, things are not always black and white. There are things you'll want to think about above and beyond price. Here are a few things you'll want to consider in order to find a photographer that's a good fit for you.
1. What's their specialty?
Does the photographer specialize in something? If you're looking for a photographer for your newborn session, you don't really want to hire someone who specializes in business headshots. Likewise, a newborn photographer is probably not your best choice for a boudoir session. When a photographer specializes in a specific type of photography, you are almost always guaranteed a great session because they love the work they're doing (not to mention they've got a lot of experience in their niche).
2. What's their style?
Take a look at their gallery. Do the images appeal to you? Are you wanting an indoor studio session or do you want your session to be outdoors? Do you like classically posed pictures or more candid lifestyle type photos? Do you prefer bright colorful action shots or light and airy romantic images? When you look at a photographer's portfolio, you should feel something. If you don't you should probably keep searching.
3. Are they a people person? (or a dog person?) ;O)
Would you enjoy hanging out with this person? Not necessarily for years, but can you see yourself enjoying their company? Your photographer needs to be someone that you like. Your session should be fun and if your photographer's personality clashes with yours the outcome will be less than desirable. Personality is a necessity, especially when it comes to a wedding photographer. You'll be with them for hours during one of the most important events of your life, so you'll want someone that you'd be happy to put on your invite list. If you want some lifestyle images of your kids to hang in the play room, you're going to be disappointed if the photographer is not someone who enjoys being around rambunctious little ones.
4. What services do they provide?
Does the photographer listen to your story? Do they offer advice? Some photographers meet you at a location, take the pictures, upload them to an on-line gallery and from there you choose and order prints to be delivered through the mail. Others are very hands on from beginning to end. They will learn about you and your vision before the session, find the best location, provide hair and makeup, help with the ordering process, and even hang artwork in your home. You'll want to determine what level of service you'd be most comfortable with.
5. What products do they offer?
Are you wanting art for your walls, an album that tells your story, or are you looking for digital files? Not all photographers offer all products. Some only offer digital files and you'll need to find a place to print on your own. Other photographers offer prints for you home, but not albums; or prints and albums, but not digital files. You'll want to make sure that the photographer actually offers what you are most interested in.
6. Do they fit your budget?
When it comes to photography, the old saying, "you get what you pay for" is actually something to pay attention to. Depending on the level of service and the products that you want, can you afford the photographer? If not, then is a session with them something that you think is worth saving up for?
For each person, there are things that they're willing to pay for and things they're not. Some people are willing to pay more for something that someone else wouldn't pay the price of a burger for. This is why when looking for a photographer you need to do a little research. Make sure you are a good fit. When you find the right one you'll be so happy you put in the work.
For this weeks blog circle, see what other pet photographers have to say about shades of gray starting with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper Photography and continue around the circle.
Texture is the topic for this week's Blog Circle post and one of the things I find artistic about photography. I am a very tactile person and have to feel the fabric of things like clothing, blankets or furniture before I buy them. When I have a sewing, needlepoint, or quilting project, texture is everything.
When incorporating texture into photographs I find that nature can sometimes provide the perfect mix for a feel good image. The different sizes and shapes as well as textures of the leaves in this image are a great example.
However, winter provides the most satisfying textures of all for this photographer. I love contrast in my images. I love dark and light together, smooth and ruff, and most of all color on white. (See where I'm going here?) ;O)
Take a look at this picture. Because Willow's coloring is the same as the grasses, the texture is what makes this image great. (Well, besides that cute smile.) You have the snow that is white and smooth, the grasses that are all over the place, and Willow's plush curly fur all in one image.
This next one has the texture of her fur and the crispness of the snow on her face, but the blurred background also adds contrast to the sharpness of the image. Now, try to imagine Willow with smooth fur like that of a lab. Because her coloring matches the grasses this image would lose some of its spark without the texture of her wavy fur.
What do you see as far as texture in this next one?
The two things that stand out the most are the smoothness of the ground with the blurred grasses in front, and the sharper rough trees in the background. They are contrasting textures. If you look at Willow's mom's coat, you can see horizontal stitching that also adds texture to the overall image. And, it adds a bit of uniformity to an image that is mostly chaotic within its different textures.
I could talk about texture forever... but I won't. I will say that it's a big part of those images that really stand out. Just like you can feel different textures with your fingers, textures in an image also make you feel. You can feel the coldness of the snow on Willow's face when you see it in the picture. It's not because you know it's snow because it could be a drawing in a coloring book and you might not "feel" that. You feel it because you can see the texture of the snow. You can also feel the softness of Willow's wavy fur as well as the sharpness of the trees. You don't have to think about it, you just feel it because you can see the texture in the image.
Want to see what textures others in the blog circle have captured or created? Start with Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex.