Welcome back everybody! I didn’t post last month since I had a two-week camping trip through Utah and its national parks. There were tons of Utah pictures to sort through, as well as tons more Adventure Pup work to get to, and I’ve finally caught up. I have to say, there was definitely a difference going back to landscape photography – I missed my doggo models so much! It’s not as fun to take landscape shots without dogs, but I tell you, it’s so much easier. I like to tell folks that starting as a landscape photographer is what really helped me excel at being an adventure pup photographer. I’ve explained in my last two entries why it’s important to trust a professional photographer with your quality photo needs, but in this episode, I’ll talk about why you need a dog photographer in particular when it comes to capturing your pup.
My last installments talk about how a photographer has the proper tools and compositional awareness to capture great photos, but an adventure pup photographer has to master a few more elements in order to really make your pup stand out. The first element is what I feel is most important – capturing the spirit of your pup. Dog personalities vary so much, so you need to find out what they’re like and then capturing them at their best. Being around lots of different dog personalities really helps you understand the range of their character – high-enery and attentive, or mellow and aloof, and all the others that fall between. Once you understand the dog personality, you can understand how their quirks make their way into how they act. One of my favorite things is when you have a high-energy dog trying to sit still for a shot, but their head is on a swivel trying to do anything except sit still for a shot. It very much reflects their actual attention span! The shot I selected for this post is Ruckus, and he’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about.
The next element dog photographers possess is a subject’s position and spatial awareness. Just like how a model poses for a photographer for a magazine shot, an adventure pup would pose for an adventure shot. However, dogs can sometimes be unpredictable. A dog won’t usually sit around forever, or can generally uncooperative, so an adventure pup photographer would need to know how to improvise a shot and adjust to compensate for the background setting you were trying to capture. Working around different dogs really helps you understand the different ways they can wiggle and wander, and that really helps with understanding how to position and work with your surroundings on the fly to make a great shot.
Along those same lines, the next element deals with dog tendencies. As I said before, knowing the possible ways they can wiggle and wander out of a shot really helps you do a few different things. One, and the greatest of all, is patience. When there’s a certain scene that would make for a great hero shot, pups don’t always cooperate. Having the patience to wait until the pup is perfectly positioned and capturing the right moment pays off. (Sidenote: big kudos to all the pup parents that help position pups during the shoot!). Another way knowing dog tendencies has helped is knowing what kinds of shots can work given your surroundings and light variables. You know that paths generally mean fast running, while tall grass could be leaps and bounds. Nose-to-the-ground sniffing means a slow wander and the downward dog means play time is going down. If something is in action or more of a slow or stationary situation, adventure pup photographers can understand what settings to use given your pup’s character.
When you’re looking for a photographer for your pup, make sure you look for an animal or dog specific photographer that understands the demands of the task. While any photographer can take photos of your pup, an adventure pup photographer understands what it takes to make those photos shine.
Until next time, go through your own photos and think about what you could do to improve any of the photos of your dogs. You may be happy with all of them, but is there something that can be improved? Think about elements in the background that make their way into photos, like a house or a light pole. Could that have been eliminated? Also, think about the photo’s lighting and if there’s any blurring of your pup’s face. Could you have anticipated something differently to get a clearer or better-lit shot? We’re all always striving for improvement, but these are things to work on as an adventure pup photographer.
Happy Adventures, friends!
-Chris, Adventure Pup Photography