During my experience of photographing dogs taking part in agility and fly ball at The Kennel Club Award Winning K9 Academy I have found that the Pastoral Dogs particularly the Collies can be quite challenging to capture in action because of the speed involved. So try out these photography techniques when photographing your Pastoral Agility Dogs:
- Try to pre-empt the movement of your dog and position yourself in a suitable place
- Set your camera to a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second or Sports Mode to try and take photographs of your dog frozen mid motion
- Prepare to take a fast succession of photographs by setting your camera to continuous shooting mode
- Whilst taking photographs quickly try not to crop out the end of your dogs tail or tips of the ears
Dog Breeds in the Pastoral Dog Group such as the Border Collie, Corgi and Old English Sheep Dog were originally associated with guarding, droving and herding cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven-footed animals. Whilst these breeds of dogs are often kept as domestic pets nowadays they are still likely to show the genetic instincts of stock management.
To capture pet photographs of your Pastoral Dogs showing their natural traits such as stalking and herding:
- Take your Pastoral Dog to a countryside location
- Position your Pastoral Dog with a picturesque backdrop
- Keep your dog on a lead in the countryside if they are not used to being around livestock
- Shoot wide angle to incorporate a wide field of view into your pet portraits
- Use a narrow aperture such as f16-f22 or landscape mode on your camera
To create a rustic country feel and enhance your Pastoral Dog photographic pet portraits use props such as bales of hay, cartwheels, milk churns and antique suitcases, preferably in an outdoor setting such as a garden or field.
- Position rustic props carefully against a suitable background
- Groom your dog so that he/she is looking their best before dog photography
- Sit your dog in front of the props to create an interesting composition
- Kneel down to your dogs eye level and try to gain direct eye contact
- Don’t use flash as this might startle your dog – but use good natural light instead
The best known of the Pastoral Dogs is probably the versatile German Shepherd Dog which is trained by police and military across the world and is often used as a Guide Dog for the Blind.
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Pastoral Dogs – this is the 3rd in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click Here to read about Gundog Photography, Click Here to read about Hound Dog Photography Hints & Tips and watch this space in the next few weeks for Terriers, Toy, Utility and Working Dog Groups!
Please feel free to leave a comment and share this article
Click Here to receive a Free Printable PDF Pocket Guide which accompanies this article and includes an Equipment Checklist, a Shot List and a Checklist for preparing yourself and your Pastoral Dogs for a photography shoot.