Awesome pet photos don't have to be hard

Despite what Humane Society website listings would like you to believe, it is indeed possible to take a good photograph of a dog. While pretty much every dog in the country gets its photo taken dozens of times a week, there is a significant difference between the "OMG his nose is right up in my lens it looks huge!" shots that end up on Facebook and the nice, elegant, beautiful shots that get framed and hung on the wall.

Buddy, a fine example of the Great Pyrenees breed. Also known as a Big White Fluffy (Full Size Model).

There's no fancy equipment, no special lights, no elaborate post-processing required. Even a $200 point-and-shoot camera will suffice, if you set it to "P" exposure mode with always-fire flash. The technique can be as simple as:

  • Go outside with a friend and find a sunny spot.
  • Back up – you should be ten paces back from the animal – and zoom in to fill the frame. (This makes him look correctly proportioned, rather than being all huge-snout-in-your-lens.)
  • Turn on the fill flash. (This evens out the shadows – not completely, but just enough to give the right amount of contrast in his coat.)
  • Now try to get the dog to look in more-or-less the right direction. (Good luck with that part.)

If you'd rather be the one holding the dog, of course, you're welcome to call on me – or, if you're not in Kingston, another photographer – to help record some permanent memories of your four-legged friend. Fifty years from now, when you find that album in the bookshelf, you'll be glad you did.



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