Monday, February 3, 2014

Photographing Dogs

    If only I had a dime for every time someone told me, "Your dog photography is just beautiful, but you could never get a photo of my rambunctious pooch."  It has been my experience that dogs with pet owners who know just how out of control their pet can be, make the easiest doggie models. 
Keep the subjects calm with your voice.
    Pet photography has more to do with a good understanding of animal behavior than it does luck or a perfectly behaved pet. If I know a puppy or energetic dog is coming in for a photo, I suggest to the owner to take the dog out for a long walk earlier in the day. When the puppy shows up for his appointment, my job is to keep him calm. That means talking in a low calm voice while maintaining a leadership role. Dogs love to please us, so if we make it clear what we want them to do, they are more than willing to comply.

     The most common reasons for not getting a good photo of your puppy are:
   1) Stress - Some dogs are nervous in a new environment or if their owner shows stress, frustration or behavior they don't understand. Calm your pet by stroking his fur especially along his muzzle and reassure him that you are in control and he is safe.
  2) At play - Your dog may think it's play time because you are getting down to his level or because you are squeaking his chew toy. Young dogs tend to be more playful and it's important to keep a calm firm state of mind. You might have to play with your puppy first, give him time to wind down, and then try again.  Above all, remain patient.  Frustration will create a negative imprint for future photo sessions.
   Be sure to give your pet lots of praise when he obeys. Older dogs may need high energy conversation and encouragement to bring their personality out. If you create a fun and stress-free photo event for your dog, it will be easier each time you get the camera out. Relax and enjoy the process.

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