Posts Tagged Border Collie

How to Take Photographs of Pastoral Dogs

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

Debs Dog Photos Flyball          Debbie Whitfield Dog Agility Photographer          Dog Agility Photographer Debbie Whitfield

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

Sheepdog Stalking in Snow

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

Dog Photographer debsdogphotos Cumbria

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.

Pet Portrait Debbie Whitfield

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.



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Using a Wide Angle Lens for Pet Photography

Hi I’m Maggie and I live in Cumbria with Deb who is a pet photographer – she recently took me for a walk around Derwentwater, Keswick in the English Lake District. As you can see Deb composed this pet photograph with a wide angle lens by positioning me on a rock in the foreground, with the still water of Derwentwater and sailing boats in the middle distance and the Cumbrian mountains in the background. A standard zoom wide angle or short lens (around 18mm-55mm) is sometimes called a kit lens as it usually comes with a camera purchase. It can create a wide field of view and give a sense of distance with depth of field so is often used for landscape photography, but can also be used successfully for pet portrait photography. When composing a pet photograph with a wide angle lens you can create a sense of distance by including a strong foreground feature, an interesting subject in the middle distance and a scenic background. You will also notice Deb composed the photograph with me looking into the scene (rather than to the edge of the photo) to draw the eye of the viewer around the stunning scenery.

Debs Dog PhotosTry out this pet photography technique to capture compelling photography of your pet in their favourite location. “Woof Woof!” Speak Soon – Maggie

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Pet Photography Hints & Tips to Capture Photos of Your Pet’s Playing

Today my puppy pal Bobby came to play and Deb took some pet photographs of us! Bobby is a Border Collie Dog and lives in Cumbria too, but he’s a bit younger than me and as you can see he has black, white and brown hair, (I think it’s called tri coloured) not red and white like me . We had a great time chasing each other around the garden. Sometimes we did high flying judo moves in mid air and sometimes we played hide and seek. I played a joke on Bobby and pretended I was dead just so that I could jump up and catch him! Deb laid down on the grass too I thought she wanted to play but she was doing her pet photography! It is a good idea to lie/kneel down to your dogs level and focus on their eyes using a fast shutter speed (or sports mode on your compact) to capture a good photos of them playing.

pet photography by Debbie Whitfield  IMG_2067  


Debs Dog Photos Cumbria

Speak Soon Woof! Woof!  Maggie

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Hints and Tips to Improve Pet Photography Composition

Deb my mum is a pet photographer in Cumbria and we thought you might like to know how she composes pet photographs to make them interesting so that maybe you can try to take some creative photographs of your own pet.

Whilst capturing pet photography Deb usually places me or my face (the main focal point of the photograph) off centre to create an interesting composition. Imagine two vertical lines and two horizontal lines across your camera viewfinder when composing your shot and place your focal point where the lines cross, like this –

Pet Photography Cumbria

As you will notice Deb has placed my eyes were the lines intersect with my nose on the vertical line to create a pleasing composition.

Sometimes she uses landscape format placing the longest side of the photograph at the bottom of the frame, like this –


Landscape Format

Sometimes she chooses portrait format by turning her camera so that the longest side of the image is vertical, just like this –


Portrait Format

Experiment with both to see which works best for your pet portraits.

By capturing wide angle shots (standing back and setting her lens as wide as possible) Deb captures photographs of me with an interesting background to create a sense of space and set the scene. As I am a Red and White Border Collie Dog and I like to stalk sheep , so Deb captured a wide angle shot to show one of my behaviour traits. In Cumbria there are lovely landscape scenes which Deb uses as a backdrop for wide angle shots but you could practice this pet photography technique in your garden or local park.

Border Collie Dog Stalking Sheep

Wide Angle Composition

She also captures close ups of me by zooming in and/or standing close when composing her photo to show finer details like my yellow eyes and red fur off well.

          Red and White Border Collie Dog

          Close Up Composition

I hope you will enjoy trying out these pet photography composition techniques.

Have a look at some of Deb’s pet photo galleries

Speak Soon Woof! Woof ! Maggie

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How to Improve Your Pet Photography with Maggie

Deb took me to some ancient English Woodlands in Cumbria today to do some pet photography as she is a pet photographer. She told me to “Sit” (I know what that word means now) in some attractive flowers amongst the undergrowth of the trees whilst she kneeled down to capture some pet photographs of me.

Deb's Dog Photos

It was much more fun to run around the tree trunks so Deb took some photographs of me running, jumping and carrying a big stick, this was a bit more difficult for her. Deb needed to select a fast shutter speed to capture some photographs of me frozen in motion – she had to use a fast shutter speed of more than 1/500 of a second.

17   Debbie Whitfield Pet Photographer Cumbria   Dog Photography

Then Deb zoomed in with her telephoto lens to capture some headshots of me. I’ve got piercing yellow eyes which contrast with my red coat as I’m a Red and White Border Collie Dog.

Pet Photographer Cumbria

Take your dog to a scenic location or even your garden if you have one and capture photographs of them in lots of different poses and positions to create an interesting portfolio of pet photographs – try lots of different shutter speeds or select Sports/Action Mode on your compact camera to capture photographs of your pet running. Remember the more you practice the more you will improve your pet photography ! Speak Soon “Woof Woof” Maggie

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Maggie’s Dog Photography Moments

My fluffy red fur has transformed into luscious long hair and my tail has become bushy with a white tip. I arrived here at Orton Rigg Farm, nr Carlisle, Cumbria on 21st February 2015, I’m not a fox but as you can see from my photographs I’m a Red and White Border Collie pup called Maggie!

pet photography Cumbria

I’ve got lots of places to explore and play – there’s the garden, a few fields and even a little wood with lots of trees! The garden is just great for digging holes and they (the humans who look after me) provide flowers for me to dig up and eat – so kind of them! They also peg brightly coloured laundry up on a line for me to jump up at and pull down to the ground!

Deb's dog photosBorder Collie Dog  Red and White Border Collie

At a certain corner of the garden , Deb (one of my humans) sometimes talks to another (invisible) dog called Boy and tears roll down her cheeks, she also throws balls around for me to catch but I prefer to try and catch the birds out of the sky! The swallows dive low into the garden but I have never caught one yet because they fly very fast ! Deb is a pet photographer (I don’t really know what that means), but she always has a black machine strapped around her neck which she sometimes points and clicks at me !? Woof! Woof!  Maggie

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