Will you photograph more than one dog?
Many of our dog photography clients have small breeds and tend to have more than one dog. Three is a popular number. As a cheshire based dog photographer I’m often asked if I wouldn’t mind photographing three or more dogs at a portrait session. The most I’ve photographed in one session is seven. I always say yes even though it’s going to be a challenge and a bit random. I’m never quite sure how it’s going to work out even though I know that in the end I’ll get the shots I want.
It’s much more challenging working with more than one dog but it’s a lot of fun too and I like a challenge. Where clients have more than one dog they usually want a ‘team photo’ with all of their dogs together looking at the camera and looking happy.
How to get the session to work
Dogs, like small children, have short attention spans. The slightest distraction can spoil the moment unless they are very well trained. This is fine with working breeds like Labradors and German Shepherds but the majority of dogs aren’t trained to a working standard. They’re pets first and foremost, furry children in many cases, and their playfulness is part of what makes them a pleasure to have as part of the family. As well as all the skills you’d expect of a portrait photographer, a pet photographer needs buckets full of patience and then some. The session has to be a game that the dogs will love. Just being made to sit or lie isn’t going to work in the vast majority of cases. You also need to be ready and quick to react. That perfect moment will come. It always does but if you aren’t ready and looking through the lens with your finger on the shutter then you’ll miss the moment and then you have to start again at the beginning.
Tips for people wanting to photograph their own dogs
So, what tips would I give anyone who wants to take portraits of their own dogs? Here are a few of my top tips:
– Make sure your dog is clean and groomed, paying special attention to matter around the eyes.
– If your dog needs clipping, it’s usually best to take the photos a few days after clipping to allow the cut to soften off. With our own dog, he looks best after about a week.
– Have plenty treats handy.
– Have someone with you to handle the dog. It’s very difficult to handle the dog and take the photos.
– Get down low or raise the dog up. You need be a fraction higher than eye level with the dog. Photographing the dog when you’re standing up and the dog is sitting rarely if ever produces a flattering photograph.
– Don’t try to do too much in one go. Keep the session fun and make sure it’s a game with plenty of activity and rewards.
These are only a few tips and I’ll write another post with more top tips on how to photograph your dog in a few weeks time.