A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to shoot the cutest poodle ever! His family was away on vacation and I was babysitting him, so the most logical thing to do was, well, take photos. He, like most dogs, was very interested in the camera at first and tried desperately to get his nose in my lens. But after a few shots he seemed to get the hang of it and stayed where I asked him to.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about shooting dog portraits, it’s that you can’t tell a dog to pose. But you probably wouldn’t want to! Dogs do so many cute and endearing things on their own that there’s really no need for posing. In fact, the genuineness of their reactions is usually what makes the shot special.
Toby, for example, was a fairly well-mannered dog who knew basic commands like sit and stay. All I needed to do was place him in the general area I wanted and make noises in order to grab his attention. If you have the time and patience, I would also highly recommend following the dog around for a while and just allowing him to do what comes naturally. Those moments are normally the ones dog owners treasure the most because they are the most indicative of the dog’s personality.
As for the technical details of the photos, all of these were shot with natural light. I shot at a time of day when I knew plenty of light would come in through the windows and adjusted the blinds according to the feel I wanted the photo to have. I’m not big on the “typical” portrait studio setting and prefer more realistic settings. Especially with animals I think it’s important for them to know their surroundings and feel comfortable in the space.
One last tip I might add would be to remember that all dogs are a little different so different approaches might be required. Some may be more wily than others, and some may not be so easy to approach, so treats and toys might come in hand. In the end, the most important part to remember is be patient and have fun.
Hope you thoroughly enjoyed this post!