Consider the background. You don’t want your backgrounds to be distracting from your photograph. Often the best locations are the plainest. Look for a large patch of green grass, blue sky, a well lit room with light colored walls. Think about where the dog will be comfortable and at ease and not distracted by new or loud noises. Familiar places are ideal.
If you are looking down at an animal, they need to be looking up at you. Try getting down to their level. You want them eye to eye with the camera. Getting down on your pets level means you enter their world and get a glimpse of what life looks like from their point of view. You will be amazed by the results as they are so much more personal and have a real element of intimacy.
You are looking for a well and evenly lit location. Open shade works great or an evenly lit room. Try to avoid harsh shadows with very bright highlights. If your outside try to put the sun behind you but be careful that you don't cast a shadow on the dog. Side light is also really nice and can create a bit of drama.
Good light is what makes any photograph great. Natural light is the best option so where possible take photos outside. If you are inside try and shoot in a well lit window.
I wouldn’t recommend using a flash as can distract dogs and sometimes frighten them
MIX IT UP
Just like taking portraits of people, dogs look totally different from different angles and framing them in a variety of ways can bring out different perspectives in your photos. In your photo shoot take some tightly cropped facial shots, focus in on single features like eyes, noses, ears. But also make sure you take three quarter body shots as well as full length shots. In this way you end up with a series of shots that give your photos a full perspective on who your dog is.
FREEZE THE ACTION
Many dogs present a huge challenge to photograph because they are so active. The key with any subject that’s on the move is to freeze their action by using a fast shutter speed. Most digital cameras will allow you to shoot in fully manual mode. Alternatively you can work in shutter priority mode where you set the shutter speed and the camera automatically does the rest by picking a good aperture to work with your shutter speed. Once you’ve got your shutter speed nice and fast make sure your camera is always at the ready so you can anticipate the action of your dog. You might also want to consider shooting in continuous or burst mode to take a quick series of shots in a row. This can lead to a wonderful sequence of shots that work well as a series.
Heidi Marie Grassley