Taking a good photo of your dog on holiday can be a real challenge. Luckily, Annie Button is here to share her top tips to make sure you capture that perfect holiday snap of your pooch.
Dogs are wonderful subjects for photography. However, while they make for a great picture, they don’t tend to be the most obedient models. Just when you think you’ve lined up the perfect shot, they decide to look away, scratch or lick their nether regions. Lovely!
What starts out as a moment you want to capture quickly becomes something that should never be committed to film!
We treat our dogs like a member of the family. This means not thinking twice about snapping pictures of them to share with friends and family. In some countries, pets are even legally considered a part of the family. As integral members of our family, it’s also important to bring your dog along on holiday if you can.
Whether it’s a road trip, a visit to family or camping, pets are great holiday companions. To capture your dog’s delight on action-packed holiday adventures, follow these photography tips.
Keep Images Simple
The best action shots of your pets are the ones where the focus is entirely on them. Details get lost when the shot is cluttered. It can be difficult to even pick out your dog from the background if there is too much going on. Removing the clutter allows the action to come to the fore, creating the best final image of your pet doing their thing.
While it’s important to focus as much on your dog as possible, ensure that you capture the background too. After all, this is a holiday snap. You will want to differentiate it from other photographs of your dog in the future. Simple backgrounds ensure that your photos are flattering but still give the impression that they are in an unfamiliar setting.
Practice and Patience are Essential
As we have mentioned, pets don’t typically follow modelling directions well. Especially not if they are having fun playing or running around. This means that getting the best action shot takes a lot of practice and repetition, even for just one image. Try setting up predictable and repeatable actions for your dog to do and look for inspiring pet photography tips online.
This might be a simple trick like spinning around or fetching a ball that is launched from the same spot. Knowing where your dog is going to be at the right moment allows you to set your camera up for the ideal image, it just might take several attempts before you crack it. You may wish to practise the action you wish your dog to do in your garden before going on vacation, to ensure that you can enjoy as much quality time away as possible.
Experiment With Equipment
If you are an occasional photographer you may not be too familiar with the various settings on your camera, and if you are using lenses or scopes then this will take further understanding. But, taking the time to learn the various aspects of your camera and the gear you take with you can reap the rewards in the final image.
Wildlife photographer, Sasan Amir, says, “It is important to get a feel for the setup. When reviewing the results, look for motion blur in the images.” He adds, “If so, hold the camera steadier and increase the shutter speed. It also takes time to get used to the focus in fast movements and to find the right setting on the camera to make it easier to focus.”
Increase Shutter Speed
If you are looking for sharp images of your pets in action while on holiday then your shutter speed settings will need to be considered. Although it might sound daunting to an amateur photographer, increasing shutter speed settings is simple to do and the results are effective.
Shutter speed essentially means how long your camera’s shutter is open when taking pictures. The faster the shutter speed the easier it is to take sharp images at speed. A slower shutter speed increases the likelihood of image blur when there are moving parts, such as action shots of your pets. For those speedy shots, your shutter speed needs to be on par with your dog.
A good starting point is around 1/1000s and go from there, increasing or decreasing as required. If your camera doesn’t allow for the manual changing of the shutter speed, its automatic settings will help. You can choose a ‘shutter-priority’ or sports function which is designed to capture fast-moving action.
The Right Lighting is Critical For A Good Photo Of Your Dog
Natural lighting is one of the best ways to lift any photograph, and the hope is that when you are on holiday there will be sunlight in abundance. However, if you are on a staycation you should probably prepare for the heavens to open.
If you are graced with sunlight on your holiday, you can use it to your advantage. Try to position your shots so the light is shining directly onto your pet. Light coming in from the side can create contrasting issues like shadows, while direct light helps your camera to focus on your dog’s face and capture the important details.
Don’t Neglect Your Dog’s Well-being
You will know your dog better than anyone else but make sure they are still enjoying themselves while you are snapping pictures of them. Monitor their well-being and happiness while you are taking pictures and stop as soon as they lose interest.
While action shots of your pet are great and will add to the memories of a fun-filled holiday, endangering them or you to get them is not worth it. Avoid shooting them on exceptionally hot days and some breeds may need to take more breaks than others. For instance, short-nosed dogs. Although they make for cute shots, remember that puppies are still developing and making them jump or strain themselves isn’t good for their growing bodies.
The most important thing is to ensure that your holiday action photos are fun and remain that way for your dog. Supply them with plenty of treats, water and praise and you’re sure to get the best holiday pics of your dog.
Now You Know How To Take Good Photos Of Your Dog… Go Do It!
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