Posts Tagged dog photography hints and tips
Caldbeck is a picturesque village approx 13 miles SW of Carlisle, Cumbria which creates a very memorable dog walk as it is steeped with history and stunning scenery. There are a variety of interesting features in the village – colourful chocolate box cottages overlooking the rippling stream, a delightful duck pond brimming with wildlife and historic ruins of an ancient bobbin mill to name but a few.
The built up area of the village is full of historical architecture which is accessible to all including St Kentigern’s Church where the famous huntsman John Peel is laid to rest and Priest Mill the award winning restoration of an old watermill with the quant Watermill Cafe and variety of shops. However, accessing the ruins of the old Bobbin Mill (which had the largest waterwheel in the country) is rather limited as the path becomes rough and then very steep with some rough steps whilst continuing towards The Howk (a limestone gorge with rippling waterfalls) so this area maybe best avoided with pushchairs/wheelchairs.
The duck pond is easily accessible from the centrally situated car park but remember to keep your dog(s) on a lead/under control as the ducks are quite tame and will approach expecting to be fed! As a local wildlife photographer as well as pet photographer in Cumbria I have often enjoyed capturing photographs of the resident Mallards and Moorhens on the pond.
Refreshments can be found at the Oddfellows Arms a traditional country pub with its own restaurant and car park – dogs may not be allowed in the restaurant but maybe in the bar area/beer garden – whilst ice creams, snacks and drinks may be purchased at the local store and ice cream van which is sometimes situated near the duck pond.
Public Toilets: Yes
Car Park: Yes
Wheelchair/Pushchair Friendly: Yes if you keep to the paths
Distance: as far as you wish
Railway Station: No (Carlisle or Penrith)
Bus Route: Yes Caldbeck Rambler which travels around Northern Fells to/from Carlisle
As the name suggests Toy Dog Breeds are small in stature and consequently do not need a lot of exercise compared to larger breeds of dog. The Kennel Club Toy Dog Breed list includes small breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pug and Bichon Frise.
Due to the size of the Toy Dogs I have found it is always a good idea when taking photographs of these dogs to:
- Kneel or even lie down low so that you are taking photographs directly at your dogs eye level
- Alternatively position your toy dog safely on steps, a chair, table or similar to create a platform of height when taking your pet photographs
Toy Dogs are sometimes referred to as Lap Dogs as they are small enough to lie on someone’s lap which creates a great opportunity to photograph the strong bond between dog and owner. You may want to commission a dog photographer to capture such a special relationship http://www.debsdogphotos.wordpress.com. Alternatively ask a friend to help photograph your dog and yourself together or :
- put a chair in a position with good natural sunlight (preferably outdoors)
- carefully position your camera at the correct height opposite the chair
- set the timer on your camera to allow yourself time to sit on the chair
- place your dog on your lap before the camera takes the picture
Use props to add interest to your toy dog photographs and brighten the scene (but bear in mind the proportion of your dogs size and don’t choose anything too big). For example you could:
- place your dog(s) beside flowers in attractive pots to capture attractive photographs
- put your dog(s) into a wicker basket for a cute pet photo
- position your toy dog(s) on a fluffy sheepskin rug or brightly coloured blanket
Remember to groom your dog so that they look their best and kneel down (so you are not look directly down onto the top of your dogs head) when taking your toy dog photographs. Also don’t use flash as this may not only startle your dog but could create a strange green glow in their eyes similar to red eye in humans.
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Toy Dogs – this is the 5th in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click here to read about How to Photograph Terriers, Click here for Pastoral Dog Photography Hints & Tips, Click here for Gundog Photography, Click here to read about Hound Dog Photography Hints & Tips and watch this space in the next few weeks for Utility and Working Dog Groups!
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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 Toy Dogs for a photography shoot.
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.