lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info and Lola the labradoodle!

How to take photos of your dog!

This is Lola in her Jubilee outfit – she is a big fan of the corgis, and who were we to stand in the way of her celebrating?

Someone asked me on another forum how I manage to get her to pose.

Well – I have a digital camera, and it is always primed with a digital battery – I have two and one gets charged while the other is in use. Having a camera ready to use is the first tip I would give – if your dog is doing something funny, or cute – nothing is more frustrating than having nothing to record it with.

A digital camera is a good investment, as the photos are much better quality than a phone – what governs the quality is not so much the pixel numbers (although that number is crucial too) but the quality of the lens. No amount of pixels will count if you are taking your photo with a tiny/poor quality lens. Then you can blow your photos up larger and see them in all their glory.

I have always taken a LOT of photos of Lola. She is used to it.  As eventually any repeated behaviour by you is noted by your dog, they tend to behave in a certain way too. If you have shown delight in them sitting still for a photo, or have asked them to do so many times, they are more likely to do it for you when you get the camera out.

Lola now seems to sort of know what is required. BUT this can also be irritating, for instance sometimes I’m trying to capture a piece of behaviour – and she sits and faces the camera!

On the whole though, I find asking her to ‘sit!’ is a good start, as then she is sitting and looking at me expectantly. If I want her to look in a particular direction – I hold a small treat in that direction. Above the camera is a good place.

I give her one of the small treats as a start, so she knows it is available to her. Then she follows the treat with her eyes. I simply look through the lens and move the treat to where I want her to look.

Knowing your dog is crucial – you will be able to use tricks to get your dog to do what you want, because you know what makes them behave in a particular way. If they roll on their back when your son takes hs shoes off to rub her chest with his socked feet – and you want to capture this – set it up.

Tell your son what you want to photograph. Get the dog in a good light, away from other distractions in the background like table legs, or piles of washing you don’t want in the photo! You will know whether giving your dog a treat at this point will keep them where you want or send them into a frenzy, wanting another treat.

But whichever is the case, get your son to remove his slippers and reveal his chest rubbing socks as soon as possible, and hope your dog rolls on to its back! Sometimes this sort of thing works, sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t just try again later. The dog is always there, your son is often there!

Lola likes lying on my son’s socked feet.

As for dressing your dog up – this works with Lola as she has to wear a coat as she is an alert dog. She is used to having a coat on – it’s easy to keep her happy in any sort of outfit that is comfortable for her for a short while.

If you want to take a photo of your dog in any sort of apparel, it’s best to get them used to it first – put it on for a short time, and give LOADS of treats while they are in it, then get it off smartly. When they are eager to have it on and receive large amounts of fishy snacks or duck breast… get the photo!

Getting your dog with expressions or to look as if it’s saying something – I do this by giving Lola a small chewy snack. As she crunches, I take the photo – normally you’d wait till after the eating to take a photo, but in this instance – do it while they are chewing!

After taking the photo, in this instance, I put the image into ‘Comic Life’ software by Plasq and gave her something to say! I really recommend Comic Life, brilliant fun!

Like anything, it’s just patience. But the more you do it, the more used to it your dog becomes, and the easier it gets.

2 Comments

  1. Liz

    Nothing works with cats! The minute I get my camera out, Kika wants to see what I’m doing and walks towards me. fine if I want a face shot but useless for if she’s doing anything cute. A camera stops her in her tracks!

    • Yes, taking pictures of our cat is much harder – BUT I have persevered and taken as many as I can to get her used to it – nowadays she is much calmer round the camera and generally just carries on with what she is doing. Tonight was the triumphant culmination of several threads of work – more on that next week!

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