Posts Tagged Photography Composition
Working Dogs are usually large and require plenty of outdoor exercise which creates an ideal scenario for dog photography. The Working Dog group is made up of a diverse set of highly intelligent breeds which can perform a wide variety of tasks. Working Dogs with a fearless nature coupled with a sturdy and powerful build make good Guard, Search and Rescue, Military, Police, and farm dogs although can be kept in homes if given consistent training, lots of exercise and a structured life.
Outdoors is the perfect location for working dog photography. To plan your pet photo shoot in advance –
- Decide on a picturesque location such as a riverside, beach, woodland or garden where you can take photographs of your dog
- Check the weather forecast and choose a day when good natural light is forecast which is essential for taking good pet photographs.
- Consider safety – if your working dog is not used to being around other animals and people keep them on a lead but remember to try and hide it behind them if you don’t want it to show on your dog’s photographs.
Whilst it is good to take photographs of your working dog posing, playing or even working in a scenic location try to take some head shots too:
- Kneel down and position your camera viewfinder level with your dogs head
- Zoom in with your lens and fill the frame with your dogs head but be careful not to cut out tips of their ears.
- Choose a wide aperture such as f 5.6 (or portrait mode on your camera) to create a blurred background
- Try to make sure your dogs eyes are wide open and in focus
- If photographing your dog in bright sunlight make sure they are not looking directly into the sun which might make them squint.
- To create an interesting composition try to place your dog ‘s eyes/nose slightly off centre rather than in the middle of the frame.
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Working Dogs – this is the 7th in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click Here for Utility Dog Photography Ideas, Click Here to read about How to Photograph Toy Dog Breeds, Click Here to read about How to Photograph Terriers, Click Here for Ideas to Photograph Pastoral Dogs, Click Here for Gundog Photography, Click Here for Hound Dog Photography Hints & Tips
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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 Working 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.
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.
Try out this pet photography technique to capture compelling photography of your pet in their favourite location. “Woof Woof!” Speak Soon – Maggie
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 –
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 –
Sometimes she chooses portrait format by turning her camera so that the longest side of the image is vertical, just like this –
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.
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.
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 https://debsdogphotos.wordpress.com/photo-galleries/
Speak Soon Woof! Woof ! Maggie