Dog Photography 101: 10 Tips to get better pictures of your dog

Dog Photography tips from professional photographer Edward M. Fielding.

Want to take great photographs of your dog but your pet seems to have a Gmind of their own which doesn’t include listening your posing commands? Got a dog who just won’t sit still for your camera? Here are some tips to get great photographs of your dog.

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10 Tips for capturing the best dog images

1. Keep it fun.  Associate your camera with a fun time like going for a hike or getting lots of treats.  A winning attitude will result in winning photos.

Dogs can sense your energy level and mood.  Don’t stress out.  Keep your photo sessions positive and fun.

2. Patience is required

Not every photo session is going to be great.  Have patience and wait for the right moment.  Don’t try to take pictures when your dog is full of extra energy or their are a lot of people around.  Take a walk before the photo session and work off some of that nervous energy.  Keep your session one on one so your pet isn’t distracted by a lot of people giving commands.

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3. Shoot lots of photos but also plan out your shoots

For casual photos of your dog at play at the local dog park, take a lot of photos because most of them will be out of focus, blurred or just not the right timing.  Put your camera on sports mode for a fast shutter speed and put it on burst mode to shoot  a lot of rapid shots.

At the same time, plan out your shots at home.  Watch the lighting conditions and choose the best time of day to shoot your dog on the couch or in a favorite chair.

Later, edit, edit, edit. Only show the best shots and toss the rest.  Don’t bore your audience on social media with blurry, out of focus misses.  Just share the best few shots.  Less is more!

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4. Treats, toys and squeakers

Treats will keep a well trained dog in position as you compose the shot.  Toys and squeakers will get their attention right before the shutter is released.

The photo above was captured by hiding a treat in the camera, just out of nose reach.

5. Lighting is what makes a stunning shot stand out from a “ho hum” shot

Photography is all about the lighting.  Wait for the best light of the day or create a studio set up to light your pet with beautiful light.

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6. Capture your dog’s personality.  What makes Fido unique?

Try to create photographs that explore your pet’s unique personality, likes and favorite activities.

7. Get down on your dog’s level

As with kid photographs, don’t shoot down from the “Adult Perspective” all the time.  Try getting nose-to-nose and capture an image from your dog’s perspective.

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8. Sneak around

Keep you camera handy and take pictures of your dog when he or she is unaware and be amazed by the sweet and funny moments you capture.

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9. Eyes are often the key to the emotion of the photo.

Take a tip from fashion and portrait photographers – make sure eyes are in sharp focus.  Always focus on the eyes for breathtaking photographs.

10. Get creative!

Plan out unique shots and partner with your pet to create funny, sweet, cute and adorable pet portraits.

More great dog photography ideas at:  https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/dog

Pugs by Edward M. Fielding – Only $7.50!

Pugs by Edward M. Fielding

Pugs by Edward M. Fielding – https://www.amazon.com/Pugs-Edward-M-Fielding-Photo/dp/1506117074

Fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding follows up on his popular “the Quotable Westie” dog photography book with a look at comical, lovable pugs full of character and humor.

Pugs of all shapes and sizes from cute puppies to full sized adults with poses ranging from irresistible cuteness to plenty of attitude. This small art book direct from the artist makes a great gift for pet lovers and pug owners.

Nice price! Only $7.50!

About the Author/Photographer: Edward M. Fielding’s work has graced the covers of best selling novels, galleries and in magazines. His ability to charm dogs into posing for him in the studio has earned him the reputation of a dog whisperer. Pugs with their constant motion have probably been the biggest challenge yet in this series of funny dog portraits.

Pug Art Prints and Products

Fine art photographs from the book “Pugs” and outtakes can be purchased as fine art prints, framed art, canvas prints, metal prints, stationary cards, spiral notebooks, tote bags, throw pillows, shower curtains, duvet covers, blankets and more!

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https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/pug

Also available “The Quotable Westie”

Supermodel “Tiki the Westie” stars as photographer Edward M. Fielding’s inspirational muse for this series of dog photographs. Tiki takes on multiple personas including old Broadway actors, Aladdin as in One Thousand and One Nights and Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail.

Accompanying quotes from writers, comedians and other notable humans round out the photographs and includes this tongue in cheek gem from Jerry Spinelli: “People who dress up their pets to look like Little Lord Fauntleroys or cowboys, clowns, ballerinas.

As if it’s not enough just to be a dog or cat or turtle.” Tiki does indeed appear as a clown, Little Lord Fauntleroy and a balleriana but Fielding and Tiki seem to know that its enough just to be a dog but they obviously have a lot of fun together dreaming up new characters to play.

https://www.amazon.com/Quotable-Westie-Photographs-Edward-Fielding/dp/1481084372

Adorable Westie Dog Art Prints and Products

Westie Photograph

Westie Dog Photographs – When we adopted “Tiki” the West Highland White Terrier, or Westie from rescue – saved from a puppy mill in Tennessee, I had no idea he would become such a willing partner in a series of photographs or that his friends would join him in the studio for a celebrated series of puppy and dog photos.

Free shipping continues on Cyber Monday.
100’s of framing options as well as products such as shower curtains, notebooks, tote bags and throw pillows are available. – https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/dog
Westie Spiral Notebook
Westie Spiral Notebook – just one of hundreds of cute dog photographs available for purchase at – https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/dog
sold a Plush Fleece Blanket (50" x 60") of Pho Dog Grapher to a buyer from Linden, - Belgium.
Plush Fleece Blankets of Pho Dog Grapher are available in two sizes. https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/dog
Tiki the Westie as Smart Doggie
Tiki the Westie as “Smart Doggie” available as prints and gifts such as greeting cards, notebooks, blankets, tote bags, duvets and more! https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/dog
Terrier photograph
Just Chilling by Edward M. Fielding http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/just-chilling-edward-fielding.html

Westies can be a handful as they are quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense. But some terrier breeds are more so than others. Overall, as a breed, West Highland White Terriers tend to be in the middle section of the terrier spectrum.

I trained Tiki early to learn to associate the studio lights with treats. Tiki will sit for me for 20 minutes, I can even leave the room if I’ve forgotten something and return to find him right where I left him. Just like when I pick up my car keys, put on socks or my coat, and he expects a walk or drive, if I pick up the camera, Tiki gets excited for a photo session.

I’ve collected the best of these images in the little gift book “The Quotable Westie” which is available on Amazon.

But the collection of dog photographs expands beyond Tiki to include his cute friends who happen to be Pugs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Sato Mutts and even Mexican hairless dogs.

Let me set the record straight, I only own one dog

Fine Art Dog Photography

My dog is a West Highlands White Terrier named Tiki.  Tiki is a wonderful model and appears in many of my fine art dog photographs and in the book “the Quotable Westie” (available on Amazon – but he is my only dog.

Any other puppies or dogs that you see in my portfolio in studio shots are not my dogs.  They are Tiki’s friends and acquaintances.

Take Ronnie the cute puppy in the photograph above for example.  He’s a newer friend.  Ronnie is a “Sato” dog, rescued from the beaches of Puerto Rico by a high school senior in my son’s class.  Their March Intensive trip went down to Puerto Rico for the week and learned about the poor dogs that are left for dead on the beaches.

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Sato is a Puerto Rican slang term referring to a mixed breed dog or mutt.

Satos are usually small dogs under 30lbs. The majority have terrier in them so they tend to be incredibly smart and quick to learn. Many have the instantly recognizable ‘sato’ ears; large ears that stick up.

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Satos vary in looks quite a bit but share some common characteristics. They tend to be small to medium-sized, with slightly folded ears and a thick, short coat.

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The most common Sato variety looks like a small Terrier/Pointer mix with a thin, agile frame; long snout; and often a sickle tail. Many are almost fox-like.

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While strays come in a variety of shapes and sizes, sato dogs are often small to medium-sized, with large ears and stubby legs. Animal rights groups in Puerto Rico claim that they are frequently the target of abuse and neglect.

Unwanted, often abused mongrel Sato dogs that have been dumped on a beach in the southeast corner of the island, called Playa Lucia.   Hundreds have roamed the sand in unruly, starving packs for so long that the locals have given the area another name: Dead Dog Beach.

Luckily for Ronnie he now lives with a nice family in New Hampshire, enjoying snow for the first time this winter.

 

New! Spiral Notebooks

New Spiral Notebooks from Edward M. Fielding


New spiral notebooks!  Over 5,000 designs and photographs available to customize the cover of your new favorite notebooks such as “Inky Pug” as shown below.

See all of the amazing designs and photographs available here: https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/

The spiral notebooks are 6″ x 8″ and include 120 pages lined on both sides as well as a pocket in the back cover for pens or notes.  Makes a great gift!

New! Spiral Notebooks
Spiral Notebooks featuring cute pug dogs – https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/collections/watercolor+artwork/pug
Westie Spiral Notebook
Westie Spiral Notebooks – https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/portrait-of-a-westie-dog-8×10-ratio-edward-fielding.html
Inside of the spiral notebooks.
Inside of the spiral notebooks.  Notice the convenient pocket for pens, coupons, notes and more!
Back of the spiral notebooks.
Back of the spiral notebooks features sturdy card stock.
New! Spiral notebooks featuring scenes of Vermont
New! Spiral notebooks featuring scenes of Vermont are available.  https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/vermont
Old Car Coffee Mug
We also have ceramic coffee mugs in two sizes!  https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/car

Check out some of our popular themes!

Spiral Notebooks Pinterest Image
Spiral Notebooks Pinterest Image

Smart Doggie

Tiki the Westie as Smart Doggie

Smart Doggie – part of a series of photographs in collaboration with my West Highlands White Terrier – “Tiki”.

Tiki, a rescue from a southern puppy mill, came in to our lives just when I was starting to have more time to dedicate to my photography.  As the rest of the family seemed to run from my camera and modeling duties, or were simply busy, it was just Tiki and I in the studio.

Tiki immediately took to the studio and the treats that were offered.  Even today if I pull out my studio lights, Tiki gets excited and sits where he thinks the photograph might occur.

Once when setting up an assignment photo for a Halloween shoot, Tiki wandered into the set and sat. So of course I had to give him a mask and snap the shot.

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More and more images ensued. Tiki as a Broadway Actor. Tiki as Aladdin. Tiki as a ballerina. Many images were inspired by finds in the baby clothing section of the local thrift shop.

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Eventually many of the Tiki the Westie series were compiled in the little gift book “The Quotable Westie” which can be purchase via CreateSpace or Amazon. https://www.createspace.com/4070210

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Dog Photography: Cute Dog at the Vet

Scared little dog at the vet

Dog Photography with Edward M. Fielding

A few years ago my wife’s boss rescued a scared, timid little hairless mutt from a trailer home where it lived in fear of the other large dogs living in the tiny run down shack of a home.

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I posed the little fella with his new mom as a vet giving him a check up. This was a practical situation as the little guy would not leave her side and always wanted her to hold him or at least touch him. So this pose worked out great as it calmed him as well as provided a bit of storyline for the image.

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Getting a nervous dog that just won’t pay attention or sit still for a moment is one of the biggest challenges of pet photography. Small pets can be placed in containers that provide visual depth to the image as well as contain them, at least for a little while. Just be careful they don’t jump down from high heights and hurt themselves.

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Treats and clickers can be used to get the dog’s attention. Great expressions can be had with an unexpected noise just before the shutter is clicked. “Parents” of the animals can be a help or a distraction. Limit it to one other person in the room with you as you’ll be fighting for the dog’s attention if the owner is making too much of a fuss. Another person in the room is very handy for making sure the dog is in position but they can also get in the way of the shot or cause undue commotion. But they can help position the pets and provide for their safety.

Cute Dog Photos by Edward M. Fielding
Cute Dog Photos by Edward M. Fielding – Pinterest ready image – pin away!

Great dog photography is all about a great idea and of course wonderful, cute dogs.  To see more of my pet photography, check out this link – https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/dog

Let’s face facts, Westies are irresistibly cute!

Westies or more officially West Highlands White Terriers are an adorable breed of dog. Small, smart, loyal, and ferocious, this Scottish breed is all terrier and you won’t forget it if a chipmunk is around.

Here are some highlight photographs from the “Quotable Westie” sessions for the small gift book.  Prints are available as well as images printed on tote bags and other products.   See the entire portfolio of westie photographs and art work by fine art photographer, Edward M. Fielding by clicking the link below.

You can see all of the westie dog images for sale here – https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/westie

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Tiki the Westie is a wonderful model who works for kibble.  He’ll sit in position under the studio lights until he hears the “ok” and he gets his treat.

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A smart dog breed for sure.  Knows his name as well as many word commands such as sit, car, ride, walk, dinner, treat, food, tick etc.

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Always up for an adventure and places to sniff and explore.  Keep this breed on a leash as a random chipmuck can sent them flying off into the woods.  And these little dogs are fast on their feet!

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The West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as the Westie is a breed of dog from Scotland with a distinctive white harsh coat with a somewhat soft white undercoat. The modern breed is descended from a number of breeding programs of white terriers in Scotland before the 20th century. Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch, is credited with the creation of the modern breed from his Poltalloch Terrier, but did not want to be known as such.

Westies are often featured In advertising by companies such as Cesar dog food and Scottish whisky Black & White. It is a medium-sized terrier, although with longer legs than other Scottish breeds of terrier. It has a white double coat of fur which fills out the dog’s face, giving it a rounded appearance. The breed can be good with children, but does not always tolerate rough handling. The Westie is an active and intelligent breed, and is social with a high prey drive, as they were once used to hunt rodents.

 

The Story of Ronnie behind the scenes at a Sato puppy photo shoot

Fine Art Dog Photography

The Wilson family got more than they bargained for when their Hanover High School senior Daniel signed up for the “Surf and Sato” March Intensive program. Each spring the high school in Hanover, NH (home of Dartmouth College) offers a week of out of the ordinary educational experiences, everything from analyzing classic horror films to hut to hut cross-country ski treks to intensive Shakespeare, drama trips to NYC, college tours in Boston and a trip to Puerto Rico to help with the street dog problem and maybe try a bit of surfing.

Rumor has it that Daniel was under strict instructions to resist all attempts of adorableness and not to return with a puppy but then Ronnie’s cuteness prevailed and after a week of being surrounded by lovable puppies, one managed to come back to New Hampshire. Luckily I was able to persuade the family to bring Ronnie over for a modeling session.

What is a Sato?

Sato is the name for mutt i Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico has a large population of stray street and beach dogs.  Some estimates put the population of stray dogs at 500,000.

Dead Dog Beach is located on the South-East coast of the island. A dumping ground, it is known for its stray dog population, and the abuse that has occurred on the isolated beach including gang rituals, target practice, and cars running over helpless dogs and puppies.

Dogs are dumped here everyday. The Sato Project, a rescue group founded by New Yorker Chrissy Beckles, is their only source of fresh water and food, and rescues them as their resources allow it. Dead Dog Beach is one of the many beaches of the island overran by stray dogs. (source: http://www.sophiegamand.com/deaddogbeach/)

From The Sato Project Org – Satos are usually small dogs under 30lbs.  The majority have terrier in them so they tend to be incredibly smart and quick to learn.  The street or beach is a very hard life for a dog and the majority do not make it past their second birthday.  Nature seems to have sensed this and females are giving birth to increasingly large litters of puppies.

You can see Puerto Rico dogs who need a second chance on PetFinder – https://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?shelter_id=PR04

About the Photo Shoot

Being a puppy, Ronnie was quite the handful as a modeling subject. I’ve grown accustomed to Tiki the Westie ability to sit for a very long time, knowing that a treat is coming at some point. At this point Tiki anticipates treats when ever I make a move towards my studio strobe lights. During the photo sessions for the book “The Quotable Westie” Tiki was so good I could set him up on a chair and then remember that I forgot the SD card or prop or something, leave the room for a few minutes and he would still be stilling there patiently.

The quotable Westie book
The quotable Westie book https://www.createspace.com/4070210

I’ve dealt with puppies before but its been a while. When I photographed Max, Pete, and Jeanie, my main camera was a micro-four thirds camera, a Panasonic Lumix G3 which had a handy feature for photographing moving objects – an LCD screen in which you could touch a spot on the screen and it would focus and fire the shutter.

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With my Canon 6D and its minimal focal points (only nine) I found myself having trouble getting little Ronnie in focus. I also made the mistake of starting out on the tripod. Not good for a guy in constant motion. But I did manage to get some good shots.

The other challenge I had was too narrow depth of field.  The Canon 6D is a full frame camera which has a narrower depth of field than a micro four thirds camera like the Panasonic G series.

In order to nail the focus on the eyes with a constantly moving subject like this little puppy Ronnie, I had to shot a lot of shots.   I first tried pre-focusing on a certain spot on this antique high chair I was using as a prop.  But the entire first set of photos were ruined by the focus being off ever so slightly.

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I end up re-shooting the entire scene later with with the studio lights cranked up to maximum and the aperture increase to f16 in order to make sure I got his cute little face in sharp focus.

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I also started to abandoned my carefully composed set ups and took the camera off the tripod so I could move the camera main focal point to the dogs eye, fire and worry about composition later with cropping.

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Some Tips

A few things I learned that worked in this latest dog photo session.

  • With puppies, be prepared for puppies.  They don’t know how to stay put, they need potty breaks, they are likely to climb out of what ever you put them in, and they are going to tire out and fall asleep on you at some point.
  • Safety – work with an assistant and try to create an environment like a basket with soft towels in the bottom to help contain the puppy.
  • Use chew toys, bones or a bit of peanut butter on a the edge of a basket to keep them interested and occupied.
  • Use squeaker toys or a weird noises to get their attention.  Don’t be afraid to sound like a wild animal or a complete wacko to get some great expressions.
  • Have plenty of paper towels handy.
  • Limit the number of assistants in the studio so the dog doesn’t get too distracted.
  • Shoot with a fast shutter speed and be prepared for motion.  I don’t recommend a tripod unless the dog can sit still.
  • Get on their level.  I used a small coffee table to raise the puppy up but watch that they don’t try to jump off.

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Artwork

King Charles Spaniel Puppy
King Charles Spaniel Puppy

 

Any of the photographs, artwork and images of these cute puppy dogs can be purchased as greeting cards, framed artwork, canvas and metal prints and more, including products such as throw pillows and tote bags.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small spaniel classed as a toy dog by The Kennel Club. It is one of the most popular breeds in the United Kingdom. Since 2000, it has grown in popularity in the United States.

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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel of today is the direct descendant of the small Toy Spaniels seen in so many of the pictures of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Toy Spaniels were quite common as pets of the Court ladies in Tudor times but in this country it was under the Stuarts that they were given the Royal title of King Charles Spaniels. History tells us that King Charles II was seldom seen without two or three or more at his heels.
As time went by, and with the coming of the Dutch Court of William III, Toy Spaniels went out of fashion, being replaced in popularity by the Pug dog with the little black page in attendance. We do not hear much about Toy Spaniels again until the 18th and 19th centuries. At that time the special strain of red and white Toy Spaniels bred at Blenheim Palace by the Dukes of Marlborough were well known for their sporting qualities, as well as for their claims as ladies’ companions.