Dog Photography Tips on Outdoor Portraits Part 3

Another interesting portrait angle is “Up in the Air” that is where you are lower that the subject or the subject is higher than you. (take your pick of sayings but they both mean the same thing)

This dog photography tip works best on smaller dogs or cats. Although it looks really cool for big dogs, I’ve never gotten around to doing it. What I did for Buford in the photo above was I set him on a ladder rack that was about 4 feet off the ground I got behind him and Buford was more interested in looking over his domain than looking at me and it made for some great “cat attitude” portraits.

Now, the subject doesn’t always have to be 4 feet off the ground; it can be a porch boundary brick fence that’s about a foot and a half off the ground.

Now, I did have to edit this photo quite a bit in Lightroom 2 because I didn’t use my off camera flash although I should have. (that’s one dog photography tip I didn’t even follow my own self, but we were in a hurry and I knew I could save it in Lightroom) a dog photography tip for outdoor portraits that are in the shade and the background is in bright sunlight; you are almost guaranteed to need a off camera flash to keep the detail in the dogs face if you don’t have Lightroom.

Dog Photography Tips on Outdoor Portraits Part 2

Of course, everyone wants to see the studio type photos of their dogs, I like taking those kinds of photos outside.

This photo was staged, I laid Candy and Wolfe down beside each other, and then I laid down in front of them to get down on their level to make the angle of the photo more interesting. I wrote a dog photography tip post on lying down, and I can’t emphasize enough how getting lower than your subject can help your dog photography.

This photo is one of my all time favorites of Candy, I took it fairly early in the morning and what I did was sit her down on the grass covered hill with the fence behind her and the sun making a outline around her and using my on camera flash (one of the few times I use on camera flash) and flicked my hand off to the side to get to look over there and CLICK! I got the shot. (I even like the small lens flare)

Now this portrait was Photoshoped. I took two different focal points, one of Candy, one of Wolfe. I later merged the two focus points in Photoshop. But the dog photography tip I wanted to point out in this photo was that background is completely blurry, and I think that is what makes an outdoor portrait more interesting.

In this photo, I was emphasizing the eye reflection in Candy’s eyes, I should have framed it closer, but I still like the photo.

Again in this photo, I was laying on the ground. Now, for some dogs this may be a little hard because they will get very excited about you lying on the ground a few feet away from them. If you plan on shooting photos of your dog while laying on the ground you might want to do a few training exercises beforehand.

                To start with, make sure your dog knows the sit command and will do it under any circumstance and anywhere. In the house, sit down on the floor near your dog and if he gets all excited as him to sit and you may have to help him a little to remember to sit. After he sits, praise him immensely and treat him, after he gets the idea that when you sit, he sits, you can advance it a little. Instead of sitting, lay down on the floor, first on your back and if he gets all excited tell him to sit and when he does, praise and treat immensely. By now, you will be able to photograph your dog while lying down and not get clobbered.

Well, that’s all the dog photography tips for now, I hope you can benefit from the training tips too. 

Photo Friday – Candy in the Bronco

I love taking photos of dog in and on cars & trucks and rusted out hulks. It gives the photo so much flavor and character, so naturally when my brother was restoring an old 78 Ford Bronco in our RV garage, I just had to set up a photo shoot.

I did a post a while ago on how I took the photo above if you’d like to see it.

Dog Photography Tips on Outdoor Portraits Part 1

I’m an outdoor dog photographer. Plain and simple, I love the outdoor lighting, I love the attitude outdoors, I love everything about outdoor photography. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t photograph a dog indoors, I just prefer outdoors. Especially for portraits. Now, most portraits consist of dogs in front of sometimes cheesy backgrounds and sometimes they look really bad, and sometimes they look really good. (I will be giving dog photography tips on indoor portraits soon)

In this photo, I did place Candy in that position in front of the windmill, but her looking off to the side was her own idea. I love “candid” looking portraits especially if they have an interesting background. Like for instance the windmill. But I’ve seen and photographed dogs on all kinds of different backgrounds. Natural backgrounds look the best to me as long as they don’t overpower the subject. This is where I use the Aperture Priority mode on my camera and for blurred backgrounds I set it on 5.6 or lower.

In the photo above, I had the aperture dialed up to like 8.0 because I was shooting with my 70-300 VR lens (as usual) since I wanted the full windmill in the photo I had to back off about 50-60 feet because I was using a telephoto lens. Now this photo isn’t the typical close up of a dogs face, but it paints a perfect picture of the owner and dogs’ personality in the photo.

The photo above was a candid photo, I just looked up and Wolfe was standing there in perfect line with the windmill and all I did was raise my camera and snapped the shot. A dog photography tip for candid photos; keep your eyes open and not chiming about the photos you see in the LCD screen. You can chim about the photos all you want later on the computer.

This photo was taken by my mom. That’s me and my best friend Candy. The dog photography tip I want to point out about this photo is that it looks like me and Candy are in a forest when in reality, I’m sitting on a dirt pile covered with brush and plants with a tree on top in my backyard. So keep your eyes open for dirt piles and trees with weeds around them. :)   Also, another dog photography tip for dog and people portraits; makes sure the person is wearing the opposite color clothes to the dogs coat. That tip comes from my AKC show days; I’d spend hours shopping for the right color suit for the dogs I was showing.

Photo Friday – The Strong and the Weak

The other day I was out in the yard picture takin’ around and I saw these two flowers; one was bent over and the other was standing up tall. And I was, for some crazy reason, reminded of Life. And I remembered a saying said by someone whose name escapes me, “There are only two kinds of people in the world; the Strong and the Weak.”

This photo reminded me of that. Only for these flowers, if you are strong, you live. If you are weak, you die.

Dog Photography Tips for Cats

I did a post awhile back on dog photography tips for cats but since I’ve been getting more and more photos of my cat Buford lately, I decided to post a dog photography tips for cats.

Tip #1. The cat has to be in a photographing mood. If you try to photograph a cat when he’s mad or upset, it’s a recipe for getting scratched, best way to photograph a mad cat is with a telephoto lens.

Tip #2. To get original photos of cats, I like waiting till they do something really funny. Such as, cleaning their personal body parts, rolling on their backs, weird facial expressions, bug eyes, and so on.

Tip #3. On cat portraits, it’s kinda hard to get an original portrait of a cat. Mostly cat portraits consist of evil eyes, close ups of their faces, relaxing on the couch or window sill, so I decided to give it a different twist. What I did in the photo below was I placed the cat, Inky, on the window sill, petted her and convinced her to stay on the sill, (I had already decided to photograph her on a window that faced west and it was sunset at the time) then I set up my flash on the sill aimed at her, (some cats will freak at the flash unit so you might want to familiarize them with the flash before hand) then I shot the picture and the way the sun was setting made a window screen pattern on her, now the trick is not to overpower the natural lighting with the flash to ruin that cool screen effect.

Tip #4. Let a cat be a cat. I always like an animal doing what an animal does, no exception with cats

Well, that all the dog photography tips on cats for right now!